Five-star sophomore visits USC

FONTANA, Calif. — Sophomore Darnay Holmes lived up to his early five-star rating at the Passing Down Tournament.

Playing for team Pro Way, five-star Darnay Holmes had a fairly long weekend of football on and off the field. Outside starring for his father's seven-on-seven squad Sunday, Holmes unofficially visited USC Saturday.

“It was definitely a great visit and USC is going to be a team on the rise,” said Holmes. “Even though they didn’t have that strong 2015 class that committed, they still got after it at practice.

“It was a blessing just to see them up close. They had high intensity, and it was warm out, so they had to get after it. The linemen, the skills players… everyone was out there completing, laughing and having fun.

“The coaches really interact with the team too. The coaches are actually out there doing the drills with the players, so that’s what I really loved about USC. The coaches really got on your butt if you did something wrong.”

Holmes is currently rated among the nation’s top three players at cornerback in his class, but many schools — including USC — are recruiting him as an athlete.

“I haven’t really talked to them about which position they want me to play,” said Holmes. “I did talk to Coach (Heyward) and we talked about defensive back stuff. I also spent some time with Tee Martin on offense.

“I haven’t thought too much about where I would play if I went there. Maybe I could be like Adoree Jackson, who might end up being one of the greatest. He’s a big time guy who might end up winning the Heisman playing both ways.

“Being able to contribute to the team and not come off the field? To make the fans happy and the whole community happy, I’d definitely be up for doing that.

“If they had me pick, I’d definitely be on the defensive side of the ball. I’m the type of guy that can take the confidence away from a receiver and be in his head the whole game. I like making the quarterback have to throw to the other side of the field.”

In addition to his recent trip to USC, Holmes has made trips to the Big Ten and Big XII regions to unofficially visit schools like Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio State. The trips east have been an eye opening experience.

“It really changed my mind about out of state school being too far away,” said Holmes. “You get on a flight, which is really not that bad. I talked to my parents about it and they want me to go where I fit at.

“My family is the type that is going to support me and fly out to all of my games wherever I’m at. Going on those visits opened up my mind to all possibilities. It’s where I can play as a true freshman, where I can be in the hunt for a championship and which schools has the academics I’m looking for.”

Coaching is also an important part of Holmes eventual decision on choosing a college, but he has a very realistic view toward dealing with coaches this early in his recruitment.

“The offers are just blessings,” said Holmes. “I don’t have long conversations with coaches, because right now, coaches I build a relationship with might not even be there in a year. That would be tough.

“So I’m just researching how they coach and how I fit their systems knowing things can change. I really focus on asking questions about the business programs about each school. That’s something I want to study. I also try to talk to the academic advisers to see the tutoring programs. I’m also looking to see what academics support programs teach the athletes life-skills after football, which most do.”

Last recruiting cycle, Holmes’ cousin, Desean, de-committed from USC after making a pledge to the Trojans the summer of his senior year. Darnay does not see that impacting his decision when it comes time to make a commitment.

“Our family was behind him in making that decision,” said Holmes. “Desean had to do what he had to do to get to that next level. When he de-comitted we all showed him love.

“It wasn’t like, ‘Desean, you’re de-committing from a great school, why would you do that?’ No, we were supportive when he opened things up. He’s going to San Diego State now and I think he’ll be a top target for them as a true freshman.

“And Desean didn’t talk bad about USC when he de-committed either. He felt that was just the best decision for him and his situation. He said, ‘If you’re thinking about USC, look into it. I had a great relationship with the coaches, but it just didn't work out for me.’

“My perspective on USC is still the same. They have a great school with a great tradition to back it up. It didn’t impact me at all.”


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