UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn, Penn State, Syracuse in running for No. 15 ATH C.J. Holmes

June 15 -- C.J. Holmes, the No. 15 athlete in the naiton, has a top seven and Scout takes a look at what it means, and what is next in his recruitment...

Scout continues its series examining the recruitment of each uncommitted member of the Scout 300 from the East Region. Next up is athlete C.J. Holmes of Cheshire (Conn.) Academy.


Schools under consideration: Notre DameMichiganUCLAAlabamaSyracuseTennessee and Penn State

Recent Visits: Holmes did not make a lot of trips in the spring, but he did make a March visit to Penn State and he is planning to see each of his top seven schools before the start of his senior season. He will be at Notre Dame this weekend (originally he planned to visit last weekend) and is tentatively set to visit Penn State for the July 16 Lasch Bash.

His dad told Scout Tuesday morning the family was still working through all the dates to make sure there are no conflicts. He is also tentatively set to visit Auburn on July 17 and Alabama two days later, but those are not yet set, his father said. Trips to Tennessee, Michigan and UCLA are in the works, but dates are still being worked on for them as well.

Rating: 4- stars

Ranking: Holmes is the No. 1 athlete in Connecticut, the No. 2 athlete in the East, the No. 15 athlete in the nation and the No. 203 overall prospect

Scouting Report: Holmes versatility is key with his value to programs. He plays running back and safety, but most schools are recruiting him to play receiver. He is physical, explosive, and he gets out of breaks well.

As a receiver, he is clean getting off the line of scrimmage, and it is difficult for defensive backs to stay on his hip. Holmes locates the ball well and secures it quickly afte the catch and he turns up the field in a hurry.

As a safety, Holmes can cover beyond the hash marks, his ball skills shine and he is physical to impact the running game.

Quote to Remember: "I'm looking to play offense. A high powered, fast paced offense definitely suits me as a player. So that's important for me," Holmes said in late February.

Scout-ing the Tea Leaves: So much changed for Holmes in the last six weeks, and it coincided with is strong performance at The Opening Regional and his invitation to the finals.

Holmes then added offers from Michigan, Alabama, UCLA and Notre Dame, and it altered his recruitment in a big way. Academics are big to Holmes and his family, so the weekend visit to Notre Dame is very important, and could be a game-changing experience. He is visiting Auburn, and his father said a Georgia visit could be added as well, but neither school is in his top seven.

The prestige of playing at Alabama is a factor, but a long-standing relationship with Penn State could be huge as well. Of his seven finalits, Holmes' knowledge and his relationship with the Penn State staff may be the deepest.

He was able to bond with the Michigan staff during the satellite camp the Wolverines attended at Cheshire Academy, and a trip to campus is vital. UCLA is on his wish-list when it comes to a summer visit, but he needs to make those plans definitive before the Bruins are truly a realistic option.

Syracuse has been on Holmes a while, but recent history shows it will be an incredibly hard battle to beat out the other schools on the list.

Right now, it seems to be a Penn State vs. Notre Dame battle, but trips could change it. So could the recruitment of his close friend and teammate, Scout 300 receiver Tarik Black. The two spoke about going to school together, and Black has a top five of UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford and Alabama.

Decision Time: Holmes said last week he wants to make a decision before his senior season. It could come during the summer, or it could be just before the start of the season at Cheshire Academy, which opens Sept. 24.

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