Recruit Profile: DL Damien Holmes

About 13 months ago USC signed Allen Bradford and Shareece Wright out of Colton (CA) High, two of the top prospects in the country. Both were two way stars just like their former teammate, Damien Holmes (6-4, 255).

Last season Holmes had 72 tackles, 14 sacks and recovered two fumbles from his defensive end position. He also had 25 receptions for 396 yards and one touchdown and was named all-CIF at both tight end and defensive end. Harold Strauss (Colton head coach) said coaches from USC compared Holmes to Dominique Byrd at tight end and Shaun Cody as a defensive lineman. That‘s pretty high praise, considering the source.

Last year USC had a huge turnout for its Junior-Day and some of the top prospects felt neglected. So, USC held a "Meet and Greet" on Feb. 24 and only a select few were invited. It was an opportunity for the coaches to meet and talk individually with each prospect.

Holmes was one of about 50 prospects who were invited and we asked what the experience was like, and what he learned.

"It went good, it went real good," Holmes said. "The coaches at SC are really intense and it was a good thing to be around. I talked to Coach (David) Watson (defensive line) and they told us about the situation at the defensive end spot, as far as who they are losing and how many people they plan on signing. "We also went to the basketball game and obviously that was cool, but as soon as we stepped on the court, even though the game was in progress, the fans all stood up cheered and were yelling, ‘Go to SC.' That's just a really nice atmosphere to be around. That was probably the biggest thing that drew my attention when I was at the junior-day."

It's common practice on junior-days for the kids to meet extensively with academic advisors and representatives from various departments, but that was not really a part of the itinerary for the "Meet and Greet" at USC.

"They did let us know about how the academics go, but nothing really in depth," Holmes said. "They told us that USC is a small school and it's not a super large school, so it's not like you're going to a large number kids in your class and you're going to have more one-on-one time there."

Coach Strauss told us he believed Holmes' interest in the Trojans is strong, however Holmes said he's keeping an open mind about all schools recruiting him.

"There's really no particular school that I'm targeting right now," Holmes said. " I just want to leave my options open, do research on each school and not have any restrictions."

Although Holmes said he's leaving his options open and doesn't favor any schools at this point, he does have definite plans to officially visit two schools and possibly a third.

"I'll definitely visit USC and definitely Ole Miss, because they (Ole Miss) were the first to offer, and maybe Duke" Holmes said.

He was asked if he'd had an opportunity to speak to Coach Ed Oregon (Ole Miss) and what his impression was of him.

"I've talked to Coach O and the d-line (Ryan Nielsen) coach," Holmes said. "Coach O seems like a really good coach and seems really passionate about, not only the game, but also recruiting. He makes you feel like he really wants you at his school. He said he needs players who can make plays on both sides of the ball and just try to dominate there."

Holmes doesn't have any plans for any more junior-days because he wants to focus on the current baseball season, but he will attend Scout.com's All-American Combine on April 29 at the Home Depot Center.


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