Holmes Talks of Oregon Visit

The #6-ranked defensive end in the nation who is verbally committed to UCLA, Damien Holmes of Colton, talked about his official visit to Oregon last weekend and how it affects his commitment to UCLA...

Colton (Calif.) defensive end Damien Holmes (6-3, 265), the #6 ranked defensive end in the country and a commit to UCLA, took his first official visit this past weekend, tripping up to Oregon to see the Ducks win over USC.

"It went good and it was really nice," said Holmes. "Obviously the game was really good with Oregon beating USC. Daniel Padilla, the freshman kicker from Corona, was my host. I got a chance to see (current Trojans and former Colton teammates) Shareece Wright and Allen Bradford in the pre-game but I wasn't able to see them after the game."

Holmes said that the experience in visiting Oregon was something he was glad he was able to take in. "They just kind of showed me what they had, showed us the facilities, showed us the players. Basically, they were showing me what they had to offer. The whole time we were up there, me and Anthony Dye (a fellow UCLA commit also visiting Oregon), even though we there to see Oregon, we definitely talked about UCLA."

Holmes said despite the visit to Oregon, he's not wavering on his commitment to the Bruins. "I'm solid right now," said Holmes. "I definitely wanted to take a second look and give Oregon a chance. The atmosphere was really nice and I kind of wanted to have something to compare UCLA to. But the only other visit I'm going to take is to UCLA."

Holmes said he is in constant contact with the UCLA coaching staff. "Most of the time I talk to Coach (Todd) Howard, my position coach," said Holmes, who also has been having a good season at tight end, where he earned all-CIF honors a season ago. "As far as I know, they want me strictly as a defensive end. The whole thing with our offense is I'm helping out on offense to contribute to help us win. But I'm not going to play tight end in college."

Holmes has only been able to make it to one UCLA game at the Rose Bowl thus far, but plans on hitting some more. "I was at the Washington game and I hope to get to some other ones," said Holmes. "The only schools I'm talking to right now are UCLA and Oregon, comparing the two."

Holmes has been one of the elite players in the West this year, being ranked #14 in the region and a member of the Scout National 100. But he's not one to let the rankings affect him.

"As far as the rankings are concerned, I'm still playing the game, so there is no pressure for me to live up to them. I'm just out playing hard. The thing is, I know the recognition, a lot of it came from my junior year, so I can't just dwell on my success. I have to come out and have a big senior year too."

With his commitment out of the way, and already being fully qualified (Holmes has a 3.7 GPA), his focus has been on making a long run in the CIF Playoffs. "I pretty much want to get the ring," Holmes said. "Especially this game, we have another one after it, but the team we're about to play, this one is for the league title. We've been to the playoffs but I want to be there for a long time this time. Not just make them but win," said Holmes.

Through seven games (last weeks contest was cancelled), Holmes has 14 catches for 358 yards and two touchdowns and has rushed for a touchdown. Defensively, Holmes has 64 tackles, 12 sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. Colton plays San Bernardino Arroyo Valley, who's led by quarterback Robert Fuller, this weekend.

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