Isaac Holmes (Part 1): Say Hello to Ike

When Isaac "Ike" Holmes decided to commit to Rutgers late in the recruiting season, it caused many heads to turn as Rutgers hasn't received a commit from north Jersey powerhouse Hoboken High School in a while. Well-spoken, big, and fast, Ike had offers from tons of schools, but chose to stay home in the end. SOR caught up with Ike in this 2 part series showing his present and future.

What is your current height and weight?

6'3" 285 lbs.

Do you have any nicknames or a.k.a.s you go by?


Do you have any hobbies or other sports you are interested in?

Baseball and basketball are my main sports other than football. I played power forward on the basketball team before focusing on football. I also like video games too and Madden is my favorite.

What is your favorite professional team and how long have you liked them?

The Ravens are my team. Ray Lewis is the man and you gotta love the intensity and drive he brings to every game. I just love watching their defense play.

What are your best skills?

My size and speed off the ball are my best two assets. I am more a bull-rusher that can use my quickness to stun the offensive lineman and then overpower him to get to the quarterback. So I'd say those are my best skills…my explosiveness and power.

What are your weaknesses and what have you been doing to get better?

Weaknesses…I'm not sure too much because my position is more in a little box most of the time, but if there was one I'd say I have to work on my finesse moves a little bit. In Rutgers' defense, the defensive linemen are asked to do a lot of different things and I'm not as quick around the corner as I could be. I'm not a huge defensive end fan, which is why I want to stay inside.

How do you feel knowing that you will have to compete for playing time?

I'm taking it as a challenge. I like a good challenge and I don't wanna take it easy. It gives me the drive to work even harder because I've already worked hard to get myself in shape. It can only make the team better in the end.

Abdul and Tom told me you are in the winter strength and conditioning program. How different is it from what you've regularly done in the past?

There were some differences, but at Hoboken we have a heavy conditioning program. The main difference between the two is the Rutgers conditioning program is not just about staying in shape, as Hoboken's is. With Rutgers' program, there are a lot more reps at higher weights and it's caused me to gain a lot more explosiveness now. I feel ready to put pads and I can't wait to hit someone.

After seeing the incoming class at the spring game, I was very surprised at the size and strength of a lot of you guys. Do you feel young guys are getting bigger earlier now and why?

This generation today there are some big kids and we come out a lot bigger and more naturally strong. There's also a lot more focus on conditioning at an earlier age because teams know it gives them an advantage out there if you are more than just naturally gifted. It gives us an advantage at playing earlier in college so I'm liking the changes.

Have you ever spoken to Joe Radigan (who was from Hoboken as well) about Rutgers?

I spoke to him a few times and he's in the weight room at Hoboken at times. We interact with him a lot and he tells us about RU. I've asked him and my high school position coach, Coach Ivan Ramos, about Rutgers because he played there as well and they both had a lot of good things to say. My high school coach, Coach Tagaleri, had a lot of positives to say on where the Rutgers program is headed as well.

What recruit and/or Rutgers player was the most instrumental on selling you on Rutgers?

I would have to say Kenny Britt…I spoke with him multiple times and we've met a lot. We'd see each other on the street and he was always saying "Ike…if you go there it'll be a good thing". He was always talking to me and was like a big brother in a way. It was really cool to see him talking to me and then get drafted in the first round because it showed that you can make it at Rutgers and that really hit home. He really helped to guide me in my decision.

What sold you on Rutgers University in general?

Coach Schiano, Coach Emanuel, and the other coaches were so down to earth and all treated me with respect. Coach Flood recruited me hard and his intensity really showed me what the Rutgers program is about. It helped me a lot to talk to them to get their feel on what they want to do and we talked daily at times towards the end just to make sure it was the right fit. I felt like they were more concerned about my future as a scholar-athlete, and not just the athlete they were getting. Early playing time was also a big reason because I'm a hard worker and I want to get out on that field as soon as I can.

When you committed to Rutgers late in the process, I got the feeling that you really went out and looked at all the schools to make sure you were making the right choice, which seems to be the opposite of what a lot of other recruits did by "reserving" their spot and then de-committing. What message do you have for other young kids looking to play D1 in looking for the right school for them?

I'd have to say if you have the opportunity and want to play then go and see all the schools and don't let the record guide you. A lot of kids are more concerned with the superficial portion of looking at how good a year the team is having and make their decision based off of that. I met a lot of coaches and felt out a lot until I felt the best feel with a group and a program. In the end you need to just go with what your instinct tells you. That's what I did and Rutgers felt like the best place for me to achieve my goals. You just need to take your time and enjoy the process.

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