New Offer Throws Holliday for Loop

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Blair Holliday has been committed to Duke for quite some time, but he just got a local offer, causing him to think things over

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Blair Holliday (6-2, 185), made a decision to commit to Duke back in the summer.

The lifelong UCLA fan hadn't gotten much attention, and he had heard good things about the Duke program, with his offensive coordinator Casey Clausen very familiar with former Tennessee offensive coordinator and Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.

Holliday took an unofficial down to Durham, and fell in love with the Duke campus, picking the Blue Devils over offers from Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State.

With his decision made, Holliday was able to focus strictly on football, and he ended up playing a huge role for the Lions this year. In fact, his 2-point conversion in the final minute of the CIF-SS Northern Division title game gave the Lions a win over Westlake, and are arguably the most important points scored in Oaks' short but storied history.

So with a big senior season, Holliday attracted the attention of the UCLA coaching staff, and on Saturday, just before the dead period began, he got a call from head coach Rick Neuheisel.

"Coach Neuheisel offered me and said he wanted me to be a Bruin," said Holliday. "In a way, it came out of the blue. I know they had been watching me, but I still wasn't really expecting an offer."

Norm Chow had been by to see Holliday in the first round of the playoffs and Oaks receivers coach Mike Sherrard is one of UCLA's top receivers in history and a former target of Neuheisel's during their years in Westwood.

"Coach Sherrard had been telling them how much I improved and they should offer me," said Holliday. "And Cassius (Marsh) and Malcolm (Jones) were telling me that I needed to be a Bruin and that they were telling people I needed an offer. After the Westlake game, Coach Neuheisel said they wanted to offer me."

For Holliday, the offer is a big deal.

"It's the school I grew up looking at and I was excited, and I will obviously look at it," said Holliday.

But as big as it was, Holliday still has his commitment to Duke.

"I'm still pretty solid to Duke," said Holliday. "They were really the first ones to offer me and that means a lot to me. The coaches there are great and the education is top-notch there."

Holliday went straight from football to basketball the following Monday, so he's putting off visits until January.

"I'll take my official visit to Duke in January, but I don't really know yet when I'll visit. A couple coaches have come in for an in-home visit and then Coach Cutcliffe is going to come next month and watch me play basketball." As for a visit to UCLA?

"I don't know if I'm going to take an official visit there yet," said Holliday. "Like I said, this all came out of nowhere and caught me off guard, but it has thrown a wrench into things, so I need some time to think about all of this."

Holliday, a week later, was still beaming about Oaks' win over Westlake, who trounced them earlier in the year.

"We played with a chip on our shoulder since that game and every game, we just thought about what Westlake did and it motivated us," said Holliday, who's been a part of a CIF champion before. "This was the biggest win I've ever had and the biggest play (the winning 2-point conversion), I ever made."

Holliday caught 71 passes for 969 yards and 14 touchdowns this season for the Lions, rushed for 95 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, and threw a touchdown pass.

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