Holmes On Visit, Commitment

The #56-ranked prospect in the nation, Colton defensive end Damien Holmes, who is verbally committed to UCLA, took his official visit to Westwood last weekend and he talked about how the trip changed his opinion of his commitment...

Colton (Calif.) defensive end Damien Holmes (6-4, 265) is one of the top recruits committed to UCLA, and Holmes took his visit to UCLA this past weekend.

"It was awesome, I really had a good time," said Holmes. "Tom Blake, the defensive end, was my host, and we got along really well."

Holmes had taken an official visit to Oregon earlier in the fall, and said that the visit to Eugene wowed him, but the UCLA visit stood out in other ways.

"I mean, the facilities at Oregon are top of the line, and that is what I would say is the biggest difference, but at UCLA, the players just all seemed like family there and we all get along really well," said Holmes. "I'm hoping that all the coaches can stay so this class can stay together."

Holmes said he was initially thinking of looking at Oregon more closely, but after his trip to UCLA, that that's not likely.

"I'm pretty much solid to UCLA now," said Holmes. "If Coach (DeWayne) Walker doesn't come back, there is a slight chance I'll re-open things, but for me, UCLA offers me a lot of things, which made me commit in the first place."

Holmes is also an excellent student, carrying a 3.7 GPA. Stanford had been poking around earlier in the fall, but the combination of athletics and academics, and the proximity to home, played a big role in his decision to commit to UCLA back in March. In the meantime, Holmes said he's doing what he can to keep the other committed players on board.

"Me and Nick Crissman were talking about how we need to keep everyone on board. We've all known each other for a while and hung out a lot during the summer at Anthony Dye's house or at the camps and we can do a lot of good things at UCLA if we stay together," said Holmes.

Holmes found out recently he was named the CIF-SS Central Division Defensive Player of the Year, and he was also selected to the Offense-Defense All-American Game in Miami next month, where he'll join fellow commits Aaron Hester and Patrick Larimore.

"That will be a lot of fun," said Holmes. "Any time I get a chance to play football, I'll take it."

Possibly the most physically ready of any of UCLA's defensive recruits, Holmes said he's aware there could be some early playing time for him in Westwood next fall.

"Coach (Todd) Howard and I talked about how they may need me next year, but I need to keep working hard and come in and be ready to play. Nothing will be handed to me," said Holmes.

Holmes is the #56 prospect in the country regardless of position and is the #6 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com.

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