USC has been noticeably absent in the recruitment of Calabasas (Calif.) five-star cornerback Darnay Holmes.
While Holmes was offered a scholarship to USC two and a half years ago, the Trojans have faded from his list of favorite schools since last fall. However, a random phone call meant for Alabama changed that Wednesday.
“I called Keary Colbert to let Alabama know our satellite camp at Calabasas had been canceled,” said Darnay’s father, Darick Holmes. “I didn’t know the defensive backs coach, the defensive coordinator or anything.
“He told me he wasn’t at Alabama anymore, he was back home at SC. I was like, ‘What, when did that happen?’ Keary is my dude, so he sort of broke the ice and was a big reason why we decided to go down there.”
Rated the No. 2 cornerback in the country and the No. 11 player overall, Holmes reintroduced himself to the new USC staff.
“We went down and met — pretty much — everybody on the staff,” said his father. “Darnay and I had a nice one-on-one with Coach Clay Helton and then met with (Clancy) Pendergast.
“After that we talked with Tee Martin too, so it was a good trip. We like what they got going on over there.”
But in order to reconsider USC as a college option, the Holmes family had to put their disconnect with the prior staff in the past.
“There was too much uncertainty at USC this past year and I didn’t want my son getting mixed up in it,” said Holmes. “There was so much going on, we didn’t really bother to see who was going to be there and who was leaving.
“Now USC has some stability. They have Clay there and he has his staff in place. They have (Clancy) Pendergast there too, so you know their defense is going to be ranked high. He’s a defensive backs guy and Ronnie Bradford is a defensive backs guy.
“We’re also close with Kevon (Seymour) and he had high praise for Pendergast. Kevon was one of the first kids I coached in youth football who has been drafted to the pros. We talked to Kevon and Marvell Tell, both Pasadena guys. They had good things to say about the staff, so we decided to give them a shot.”
Outside coaching changes, Holmes and his family have other reasons drawing them to USC.
“It’s a private school and their alumni are awesome,” said Holmes. “USC has always been a top 20 school academically, which is something we’re looking at. Darnay wants to major in business, and the business school is very good.
“Stanford along with UCLA have been those schools that we’ve looked at if Darnay wants to stay home. USC was never in the mix, so we never looked at having three home schools as options.
“Now you have USC on that list, plus the out of state schools that interest us that are high academic institutions. They’re academic institutions as well as great DB institutions that turn out great defensive backs.”
Between now and August, Holmes and his father hope to visit several out of state schools. Hoping to have a narrowed list of options hashed out before the start of the football season, Holmes will beginning his tour in the Midwest.
“We need to see the schools we haven’t been to,” said his father. “We’ve got to buckle down because we have The Opening and then a dead period.
“We’re looking at visiting Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State. Then we’ll probably see some schools we’ve already been to like Alabama and Ohio State. Then we always have USC, UCLA and Stanford out here.
“SC and UCLA are like an hour away. Stanford is the furthest because it’s a five hour drive or an hour and a half flight. But we will still check back in with those schools before we map out what we’re going to do from now to the end of the year.”