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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
ESPN 150 OLB Hollins still a wanted man

By Sam Khan Jr.

MISSOURI CITY, Texas -- When asked what to make of his senior season so far, one in which his team is undefeated, he has dominated on the field and colleges from all over the country have continued to recruit him, Deon Hollins Jr. could think of just one word.

"Perfect," he said.

It's not a bad way to put it.

Deon Hollins Jr
ESPN 150 outside linebacker Deon Hollins Jr. has 28 sacks over the last two seasons.
Missouri City (Texas) Thurgood Marshall is 8-0, off to its best start since 2005. Hollins already has 13 sacks, nearing his 2011 season total of 15. And though he's committed to UCLA, he still hears from many schools.

"Pretty much about 30 schools are still contacting me heavily," Hollins said. "It's still a process."

While many prospects take in-season visits, the ESPN 150 outside linebacker hasn't. He will wait until after the high school football season concludes to take them. Clearly, UCLA will be one of them, but Hollins is paying attention to others that reach out so that he can ensure he makes the absolute best choice for his future.

"My parents pretty much want me to make sure the place is the right place for me," Hollins said. "Just looking around, making sure that no other program offers a better overall [combination] of things."

Hollins, who is ranked the 11th-best outside linebacker in the country, said he's certain that he will visit Notre Dame after the season. He recently was contacted by head coach Brian Kelly and hears from co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks.

"I love what I've seen from them so far," Hollins said.

Ohio State is another program that Hollins is considering visiting. He's heard from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman recently.

"[Herman] said they're pretty much just looking for playmakers at the linebacker position," Hollins said.

The programs that have been contacting Hollins the most, he said, are Notre Dame, Utah and Washington. Oklahoma and Texas A&M still contact Hollins, the No. 124 player in the ESPN 150, as well.

He said he still is talking to UCLA's coaches daily as well and still feels good about the Bruins.

"I'm pretty much in contact with the coaches every day," Hollins said. "I'm feeling pretty good."

Hollins, who plays defensive end for Marshall, has been one of the Houston area's top defensive players this season. Few have played at the level he has this season.

"He's one of the most explosive players I've seen at the high school level," said his coach, James Williams. "This year he has definitely taken it to another level. He's not just a good athlete. He wants to be the best football player and defensive end that he can be."

In addition to Hollins' hard work and dedication, Williams said the rise in his level of play has also been aided by his work with Marshall defensive line coach Jason Davis, who a former Houston Texans defensive lineman who played his college ball at West Virginia.

"He learns a lot from Jason Davis," Williams said. "Technique, hand placement; [Hollins] really wants to be the absolute best he can possibly be and he has really become a student of the game."

Hollins said studying up has been key for him this year.

"Film study has been a big key for me," he said. "A lot of times [opponents] will send a guy, two guys, three guys at me, so I've been studying so that I can pick up any small nuances."

Hollins is setting his sights on a 20-sack season. Chances are a healthy playoff run will be necessary for that to happen, something he and his teammates also plan on. So far, it's been a memorable year.

"It's excellent because the whole community is behind us; the school, the teachers, everyone is behind us and it's just really motivating," Hollins said. "A lot of the times at practice and game day, coaches actually have to calm us down because we're so excited to have an opportunity to do this and be the ones to do it."