Holloman has the talent, hunger to be monster at safety

Devonte Holloman, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds
ESPN 150 Watch List safety
Independence High School (Charlotte, N.C. )

There aren't many high school athletes who can dish it out on both sides of the football, but Devonte Holloman is one of those rare football players.

A hard hitter on defense and a confident playmaker on offense, Holloman is a dangerous, versatile weapon. As talented as he is as a quarterback, his future position will be safety.

Holloman is proud of his success as an offensive player for the Independence High School Patriots during his junior season. However, his goals for the 2009 campaign center on defense.

"I had 96 tackles as a defensive player my sophomore year and 50 last season while also playing quarterback," Holloman said. "My goal this fall is to total 100 tackles on defense."

Holloman also puts team accolades ahead of individual achievements; the ultimate prize next fall is for his team to make it back to the state championship game.

"We have a great tradition here at Independence and we want to keep that tradition going by winning it all."

This gifted all-conference and all-state player was sought after by colleges around the nation but decided to make his collegiate choice early. He picked Clemson University to further his athletic and academic careers.

Holloman said Clemson is "a place I could go to school even if I didn't play football, the environment is very special. It's not too far from home and both safety positions will open up by the time I'm a freshman. I really believe the coaching staff will help me reach my potential."

Holloman hopes to get a degree in computer engineering from Clemson. He works as hard in the classroom as he does on the gridiron and his SAT score of 1320 is a reflection of his efforts.

Holloman loves the physical nature of defensive football and models himself after three proven players.

"My football heroes are Sean Taylor, Ed Reed and Brian Dawkins," he said. "Those guys love to hit and make big plays. It's a shame about Sean Taylor; he was a great defensive back. I hope I get the opportunity to play in the NFL someday."

When he's not on the football field, Devonte likes to mix it up on the basketball court, plays video games and watches ESPN.

"I am really looking forward to the Under Armour [All-America] Game in Florida next January," he said. "It will be fun to see how I match up against some of the very best players in the country and it will be exciting to play on national television and be on ESPN."

Holloman's competitive attitude isn't surprising. He thrives on it and plays like there's no tomorrow.

Holloman's Scouts Inc. Evaluation
Holloman is versatile and solid all-around -- a very good football player. He is tall, rangy and shows aptitude both in coverage and in run support. He's very good at playing the deep ball by keeping inside position on a receiver, high-pointing the ball and timing his interception attempt. His agility and athleticism are evident in his ability to maintain body control and balance in the open field.

Shows good instincts against the run. Takes proper run-support angles and reacts quickly to the sweep and sprint-out. Instinctively closes forward from a deep position and maintains an inside-out position on the ball. Demonstrates physical toughness when tackling and has the size to deliver a blow. Needs to show more consistency in wrapping up ball carriers and driving his legs on contact. If he learns to tackle with more knee-bend and drive through ball carriers by starting low and finishing high, he can develop into a devastating hitter.

Having played quarterback should be a big asset for him in the secondary at the next level. Formation awareness, pre-snap reads and understanding various coverages should make the transition to full-time safety easier. He is very quick and smooth; his overall speed will determine whether he ultimately winds up at free safety or strong safety. Holloman will be one of the most sought-after safeties in the Class of 2009.

Bill Conley worked at Ohio State for 17 years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Since retiring from Ohio State in 2004, Conley has worked as a contributor and analyst for Columbus-area print and broadcast media and as a professional speaker. He also published a book recounting his years as a Buckeyes recruiting coordinator, "Buckeye Bumper Crops."