Darnay Holmes is one of the top athletes in the 2015 class out West, and while he projects best as a cornerback, he could make an impact on offense as well. As a corner, he has great instincts, closes extremely well, and isn't afraid to hit. His ball skills are excellent, as you might expect from a defensive back who also is a very good receiver. He's a really high level athlete, with great speed, quickness, and leaping ability, making him pretty much the total package at corner. He's not the tallest guy, measuring in at around 5'10, so that's one knock on him, but he's such a good leaper and plays the ball so well in the air that it's not as much of a concern as you'd typically think with a shorter cornerback. What stands out watching him is that he's equally good in both press coverage, where his physicality and overall toughness is a major asset, and off coverage, where his closing speed gives him an advantage. He is also no liability in run support, with good tackling technique and that toughness that allows him to play bigger than he is. And, again, if UCLA lands Holmes, he's a pure athlete, and it would be a bit of a shock if he doesn't also see time on special teams or on offense, where his athleticism and speed could make him a dynamic threat with the ball in his hands.
From a pure talent and need perspective, Holmes might be one of the handful most important recruits on the board for the Bruins. With an elite corner talent like this in UCLA's backyard that, importantly, isn't even considering USC, the Bruins pretty obviously have to make him a priority. Luckily for UCLA, there's a connection here, with Holmes' father and UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin having known each other since high school. Holmes recently cut his list to seven, and the Bruins made the cut along with Stanford, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Alabama, and Ohio State. UCLA has been recruiting Holmes for effectively two years now, since Holmes emerged on the scene as a legitimate high major prospect as a freshman, and at least publicly, Holmes was saying that the Bruins were right up there near the top in his recruitment. Stanford is always dangerous with West Coast prospects who have the grades, so that's one to watch out for, and obviously Holmes is already a national prospect with serious interest from the last two national champions. Nebraska might also be a darkhorse here, with Holmes' friend Keyshawn Johnson possibly leaning toward the Huskers. Holmes has already unofficially visited most of the schools on his list, and has been to UCLA multiple times. He'll announce on June 23rd, his birthday, and has said before he'd like to enroll early.