At this time last year, USC was beginning to fade for Calabasas (Calif.) five-star cornerback Darnay Holmes.
Now, Holmes' constant contact with USC has the Trojans in line to receive several unofficial visits from the five-star U.S. Army All-American this season.
Holmes’ recruitment took a 180-degree turn after a unplanned visit to USC in early June.
“There was just a lot of uncertainty with the coaching staff before, but now there’s a sense of comfort at USC in my opinion,” said Holmes. “Coach Ron Bradford has a great resume and the defensive coordinator [Clancy Pendergast] has a great resume.
“He was the coach at USC when my guy Kevon Seymour was at his peak. Clay Helton is a great guy. I actually played against his son in the championship last season.
“Tee Martin was a big part of my visit too. My dad and I talked with him and he really knows what he’s doing. That a coach that’s going to produce some first rounders.”
With USC back under consideration, Holmes now has to take steps to research the Trojans more in depth.
“I really want to see how they play in that first game against Alabama,” said Holmes. “I want to see how this new coaching staff comes in and gets their guys going against the national champions.
“I want to see how Adoree' [Jackson] and how JuJu [Smith-Schuster] do against that level of competition. I’ll be taking an official there… well, it will be in town, so it will really be an unofficial visit. I’ll definitely check out some games there. I want to stop by a few more times to see how things are progressing for the new staff.”
Jackson, Smith-Schuster and Toa Lobendahn all flew in to Beaverton Friday to take part in The Opening Finals as alums.
“It’s been good seeing those guys,” said Holmes. “Adoree' Jackson and I have been up here just chopping it up. JuJu is out here as well and they’re going to be our mentors this week for our team, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Friday, Holmes ran a 4.32 and 4.35 40-yard dash. Among one of the top five fastest players at The Opening Finals, several schools — including USC — see Holmes playing both sides of the ball.
“Growing up with Darick [Holmes] and Desean [Holmes], they always played receiver, so I worked out with them,” said Darnay. “A lot of schools have been looking at me playing offense, but I’m trying to perfect my craft on defense.
“It doesn’t matter to me where I play because I’m going to dominate on whatever side of the ball they put me on. I’m going to force schools to want to put me on both sides of the ball.”
Of course, playing time and depth charts are often brought up in reference to Holmes’ recruitment. While USC is just recovering a full allotment of scholarships after being hit with sanctions in 2010, the Trojans have still recruited some quality athletes at cornerback.
“I only know about Biggie [Marshall], Jacck Jacck (Jack Jones) and Adoree', but Adoree' is a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), so you can’t even classify him,” laughed Holmes. “There’s a few guys I know over there… Trevon Sidney, Tyler Vaughns… the Pasadena guys.
“They have a lot of Pasadena guys at SC, so there’s a sense of comfort there because I know those guys will tell me how things are. They’re pretty stacked, but it doesn’t matter. Wherever I go, they could have a depth chart of all five stars. I’m going there to compete and win a starting job.”