NCF On The Trail: Corey Holmes

As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.

Will Martin leaving impact ND commits? 

December, 3, 2013
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin has been hired as coach at the University of Miami (Ohio), according to ESPN’s Joe Schad. A highly-respected coordinator at a big-time program will typically impact recruiting, but that might not be the case at a school like Notre Dame.

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UA Game jersey tour: Corey Holmes

October, 10, 2013
Senior wide receiver Corey Holmes (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) was presented his honorary game jersey at his school Tuesday during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of the three-month selection tour.

Holmes, a Notre Dame commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

[+] EnlargeCorey Holmes
Courtesy of IntersportCorey Holmes is the No. 77 player in the ESPN 300.
"It's been a dream of mine to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game," Holmes said. "I wouldn't have done it without the help of select people. First, I would like to thank God … without him I wouldn't be anything. I would like thank my dad; he's been a major part of my success. He's been with me since I was a little kid. Watching me growing up, he's responsible for me being the man I am right now. I would like to thank my mom; she's been there with me, too, since Day 1."

St. Thomas Aquinas coach Rocco Casullo says his star player possess a skill set rarely seen at the high school level.

"I think Corey possesses tremendous athletic ability, very explosive, high vertical, great route-runner … he has skills you really don't see for a high school player. Not only the skills, but complete skills and it will be a tremendous asset for him moving forward."

Holmes has been a fan of the UA game.

"I grew up watching the games, and I said to myself that when I get to high school I want to be able to play in the Under Armour All-America Game. I'm just excited to play against the top prospects in the nation. I want to be able prove to everybody that I'm good against the best competition. You look back and you'll see guys like A.J. Green and all the guys that are in the NFL … and to know that you are a part of this, and a part of what they have been through … it's just an honor to be able to play in this game," he said.

The 6-foot-2, 176-pound Holmes is the No. 77 prospect overall and the No. 9 wide receiver in the class. He committed to Notre Dame over offers from Miami (Fla.), LSU, Florida State, Clemson, Arkansas, Auburn and several others.

Wednesday, Notre Dame picked up a commitment from ESPN 300 wide receiver Corey Holmes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas). Read on to see how our scouts believe Holmes, the nation's No. 77 overall prospect, will perform in South Bend:

What he brings: The Irish are landing a tall, athletic pass catcher with both big catch and big play after the catch ability. Holmes can win the jump-ball matchups and produce in the red zone but also has deceptive shiftiness and speed for such a tall receiver after the catch to elude and separate in the open field for big gainers.

How he fits: Holmes has the ability to play inside or out in ND’s spread offense and is a savvy enough in his route running that we feel he will adjust quickly to some of Kelly’s option-based route concepts. It’s a passing game that will stretch the field horizontally and threaten vertically and Holmes has the skill set to move the chains in both of those facets. Kelly also likes to isolate his go-to receiver away from trips and Holmes could develop into a go-to receiver during his career in South Bend.

Prediction for performance: With his size, versatile skill set and advanced development having played at a prominent high school, we feel Holmes has what it takes to come in and compete early for reps. He will need to get stronger and more refined in his route running before he becomes a top target, but we feel he has the capabilities to do so in time.

Who he reminds us of: Former Tennessee Vols WR Justin Hunter and current South Carolina Gamecocks receiver Shaq Roland.

How the class is shaping up: The Irish bump into top 10 with the commitment from Holmes, who gives them another big, athletic receiver target along with Justin Brent (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) which was a need in this class along with athleticism up front.

Notre Dame adds ESPN 300 WR Holmes

July, 17, 2013

Notre Dame picked up it's 14th out-of-state commitment on Wednesday, as ESPN 300 wide receiver Corey Holmes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) gave his pledge to the Fighting Irish.

The Under Armour All-American chose Notre Dame over UCLA, Florida and Oklahoma.

Holmes, who as a junior totaled 511 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 28 receptions, said Notre Dame was the best fit for him.

"It really came down, when it was time to make the decision, there were four schools I was really considering, and they were Notre Dame, UCLA, Florida and Oklahoma," Holmes said. "After visiting all four of those schools and meeting with coaches and some players that were part of the team, Notre Dame just fit the mold of everything I was looking for. Everything I was looking for in a college -- Notre Dame had.

"I just went with what God told me and went with what my gut told me to go with, and that was with Notre Dame. I feel as though they will prepare me best for life. Once I'm there, I want to be a part of a team that is a national championship contender and just be a part of a great program with great players. I want to be around players that want to be successful in life and also on the football field."

Holmes' father, David Holmes, played defensive back at Syracuse in the late 80s and also played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions. David believes his son will enjoy success on the next level because of the type of person he is.

"I am thrilled," the elder Holmes said. "It's like I'm pinching myself. Every parent, especially one that has played at the highest level, you only dream of having a kid, that someday, has an opportunity to experience what you experienced. To me it's a blessing, No. 1, but No. 2, it's rewarding. Corey is an outstanding athlete, but he puts in the work. His work ethic and his discipline is unbelievable, and when Notre Dame gets a chance to see that, they are going to be in awe.

"He's a rare athlete -- I can tell you that. He makes me and my wife very proud. He's a competitor, in whatever he does, he wants to be the best. To have an opportunity to play at a program like Notre Dame, it just doesn't get any better than that."

All but one of Notre Dame's verbal commitments are from out-of-state. Holmes feels like players from all over the country just want to be around a program with great academics and great tradition.

"Just the fact that you'll be around guys that not only want to win national championships but want to graduate with a good degree -- that's one thing that brings guys to Notre Dame.," Holmes said. "They just want to be a part of a good family and be around guys that want to be successful."

Holmes, the No. 77-ranked player in the country, is the only player from Florida committed to the Fighting Irish, but he hopes to change that.

"There are a couple guys I'm going to talk to," Holmes laughed. "Richard Yeargin III being one, Quincy Wilson being one -- there are a few guys I'm going to go after that I want on board with us."

The four-star receiver said his primary recruiter, Tony Alford, was ecstatic to learn of his pledge to Notre Dame.

"He was really excited," Holmes said. "He mentioned to me that I was his biggest recruit this year and he also mentioned that I was one of the biggest recruits he had ever recruited and he couldn't wait to get me on campus. "

Holmes becomes the 15th commitment for Notre Dame, including eight ranked in the ESPN 300. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked No. 12 in the RecruitingNation team rankings.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Oklahoma is hoping to sneak back into the picture with ESPN 150 receiver Corey Holmes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) since he came out with his top two schools. Notre Dame and UCLA are the teams to beat for now, but Holmes said there is still a chance that can change.

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The Opening: Florida storylines 

June, 27, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- With The Opening set for next week at Beaverton, Ore., here are some storylines to follow for Gator fans.

1. Grier gets his shot at Elite 11

Will Grier
Miller Safrit/ESPNFlorida commit Will Grier won quarterback MVP honors at the VTO Sports Prep 100 in Charlotte, N.C. in March.
Florida quarterback commit Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day) might not play against the toughest competition in North Carolina, but he will certainly have the opportunity to prove himself at the Elite 11 and The Opening. As a junior, Grier threw for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns in a game. He'll throw against some of the top defensive backs in the country and have a chance to prove he is one of the top quarterbacks, regardless of the level of competition he plays against in high school. Grier is currently ranked the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country, but with a strong showing that could change.

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The Opening: Oklahoma storylines 

June, 27, 2013
The Opening will get under way next week with several of the nation’s top recruits competing in Beaverton, Ore., to show who could be the top player in America for the Class of 2014. Several Oklahoma targets will be in Oregon showing off their talents, so here’s a look at a few Sooners storylines for The Opening.

Could the headliner of OU’s receiver class be on display?

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The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.

Tales From The Road: Florida Gators 

May, 15, 2013
Each week, Tales From The Road will provide news and updates about where Florida's coaches are recruiting and the prospects making headlines.

This week’s targets: For the fourth straight week, Florida coaches were on the road recruiting. This week a Florida coach headed to Orlando to check in on defensive end Trent Harris, who recently decided to postpone his May 23 commitment date. Florida also checked in on 2015 Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek running back Jacques Patrick.

Running backs coach Brian White headed to Alabama to check out defensive tackle Cory Thomas, running back Bo Scarbrough and outside linebacker Torrence Brown. Linebacker Dillon Bates had Florida coaches visit him at his practice on Tuesday.

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ESPN 150 targets: Oklahoma 

April, 18, 2013
The first ESPN 150 has been released with one of Oklahoma’s four commits making the cut in Under Armour All-American Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe).

That doesn’t mean it’s a weak class for the Sooners as the list is peppered with top targets. Adding some of these 10 prospects -- listed from highest to lowest rank -- would be a great way to get OU back up in the recruiting rankings:

1. ATH Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East)
6-foot, 170 pounds
ESPN 150 Rank: No. 22

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Corey Holmes' interest in Oklahoma didn't happen when the Sooners showed interest in the ESPN Watch List receiver. Holmes (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) has had his eye on the Sooners for years.

"I’ve always liked Oklahoma," he said. "I watched them when they came down to play Florida in the national championship game."

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Five stories to watch: Miami NFTC 

March, 15, 2013
Here are five storylines for the Miami NFTC.

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West Virginia offers Fla. WR 

February, 13, 2013
Corey Holmes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) added yet another offer to his list on Wednesday afternoon.

While browsing on Facebook, a coach from West Virginia asked the wide receiver to call. The rest, of course, is history.

"I was messaging with the coach on Facebook and he told me to give me a call," he said. "I called him and he told me that they had a good 2013 class and went straight to my film, looked at my film, and they said they were really excited about me and I had an offer from West Virginia."

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Corey Holmes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) had a relatively quiet holiday season in terms of recruiting.

With the dead period in swing, his contact with college coaches was limited. Miami (Fla), though, seems to have begun to show some effort in getting the 6-foot-1, 170-pound receiver on campus.

"I think it was just this week, I heard from Miami and they invited me to a thing that they have down in Coral Gables," he said. "So far, that is the only the school to hit me up."

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