Coach Spotlight: Will Holden

Vanderbilt gained a commitment during the weekend from Will Holden. The 6-foot-6, 275-pound offensive tackle plays at Jacksonville area school, Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Fla. His head coach, Josh Hoekstra, wasn't surprised when he heard the news and thinks Vanderbilt is getting a good one.

"Will had been a starter as a sophomore when we got here a couple years ago," said Hoekstra. "We knew right away he was a special player and would have a chance to be a college player. He has an outstanding position coach in Jeff Nettles who did an excellent job with his development."

Holden had numerous offers from schools like Iowa State, Louisville, South Florida, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Vanderbilt. Holden gave his commitment to the Vanderbilt staff after a weekend in Nashville watching the Commodores battle SEC-rival Arkansas.

"They flew up after our game on Thursday," said Hoekstra of Holden's trip. "He gave his commitment on Sunday. In addition to Vanderbult being in the SEC and a great academic school, Will loved the coaches. Coach (Herb) Hand came to one of our games, and I know him being there meant a lot to Will. He got to meet Jay Cutler while he was there and thought that was pretty cool. He's excited, and we're excited too."

Coach Hoekstra says Holden comes from a good family. His father, Kevin, is a Master Chief in the Navy and mother, Rita, is a Cafeteria Manager at Coppergate Elementary. He scored a 960 on the SAT and is on track to be named the school's top academic athlete. Hoekstra thinks Holden will do just fine at Vanderbilt both on-and-off the field.

"Will has great feet, long arms, and moves well," said Hoekstra. "Last spring he really started to fill out in size. He dedicated himself to the weight room in the off-season.

"At tackle, he gets out quickly to the second level, has a good initial punch, and has worked well with Coach Nettles on improving his technique and fundamentals. I think he comes in (at Vanderbilt) and competes early for playing time and becomes a starter soon after that."

Clay is currently 5-3 after Thursday's win over Paxon. They play in Florida District 3-5A. Holden wears No. 74 for the Blue Devils.

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