Sentell’s Intel: Oregon is now a strong contender for another must-sign UGA target
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LOGANVILLE, Ga. — Oregon has given DawgNation another reason to ponder a potential Fred G. Sanford “heart attack” scenario on the recruiting trail.
The chrome-and-green now have a very interesting offer that will appeal to 4-star WR Jeremiah Holloman.
For starters, there’s a decent contingent of Georgia fans who feel Holloman is pretty much as good as signed to enroll early in January. The nation’s No. 18 WR for 2018 has been to three UGA games this year. Some feel his public stance is a lot like 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. was a year ago.
He’s playing the field. Seeing what he’d like to see in terms of his once-in-a-lifetime options. Yet when it comes down to it, he’s all Georgia. The attachment Holloman feels to UGA — not counting the fact his first cousin Leonard Floyd in constantly in his ear — will eventually give Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney a big-time target that can take the top off of any defense.
I’d still probably count myself in that group, too. But my most recent conversations with “JJ” plus three other family members have led me to believe the Ducks are going to make things tough for him. That’s the same way the opportunity to study sports marketing and sports promotion at Oregon are weighing on 4-star LB Nate McBride.
McBride has to look at what would be a strong shot to one day work at Nike in those fields if he chose Oregon. The Ducks have found another completely different reason to make sure they have Holloman’s complete attention.
It connects to something Holloman told me earlier this year when he said he and his older brother LayFeatte “LJ” Holloman would be a package deal and choose the same program. “L.J.” Holloman also happens to have an uncommon recruiting story.
His senior year at Newton High was in 2015, but he never landed long term with a college program. Not even at a junior college. LJ Holloman, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, has the same athleticism that powered his younger brother to a Top 5 finish in Nike’s Sparq ratings at its “The Opening” prospect showcase back in July.
Jeremiah Holloman plants to be a December graduate and will enroll early in January. His older brother will finish up the coursework necessary during the next semester to follow him to the same school in August. The available options that have been presented to him so far have been as a preferred walk-on spot at schools like Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee, among others.
Not at Oregon. DawgNation has learned the Ducks have offered his older brother a full scholarship. While Jeremiah is confident his older brother’s athletic ability will eventually earn a scholarship anywhere, this is the first major program that has moved to offer one at the jump.
They want both the Holloman boys. Now.
“Prior to that I was already considering Oregon,” Jeremiah Holloman said. “Then I had told them about my older brother and then they looked at his film. Then they talked to him after that and they made things happen.”
Holloman said that the odds are at “100 percent” that they will play together in college.
Jeremiah has narrowed his focus
The younger Holloman brother had missed several weeks with an ankle injury but returned to the field at what he classified as “90 percent” for a 34-0 loss at powerful Grayson on Friday.
“Right now I am just looking at Nebraska, Miami, Tennessee, Georgia and Notre Dame,” Jeremiah Holloman said.
He’s planned official visit trips to Miami on Nov. 4 and Nebraska on Nov. 12. He said he hasn’t ruled out an official visit to UGA.
“I might just take one and get a chance to take one and get a chance to get up there before it comes commitment time,” Holloman said.
It is worth noting that Holloman didn’t mention Oregon. But when speaking to his older brother, he included that program as one of his primary options.
Jeremiah Holloman felt his decision could come in December or it might be at the U.S. Army All-American game in early January.
A 6-foot-2, 192-pounder, Holloman clocked a 4.42 laser time in the 40 at Nike’s “The Opening” back in July and also recorded a 41-inch vertical leap. That level of explosiveness at his size would be a welcome addition to the receiver corps at UGA.
He visited UGA again last Thursday and said he used it to take his mind off the Grayson game and his return.
“They also showed me some technique things I can work on to use to my advantage and things of that nature,” Holloman said on Friday night. “It is still a great feeling about UGA always. I sported the (Georgia) gloves today.”
He’s also not concerned about the recent loss to Vanderbilt as any indicator of the program’s future.
“Not at all,” Holloman said. “Especially how well Georgia is doing recruiting wise. There are a lot of good players coming in on the way to Georgia and especially at the positions they are lacking right now. I’m not worried about it.”
What’s the biggest reason he’s considering Georgia? He said that UGA’s strength at quarterback “plays a big part of it” but that wasn’t the primary draw.
“On top of that you have to look at it that it is right here,” Holloman said. “It is right here at home and would be in front of all the people I grew up with.”
He said he admired Georgia and Tennessee growing up along with Ohio State. His family is from Ohio. He also liked Texas when he was playing rec ball.
LJ Holloman didn’t exactly say that he and his younger brother were going to be a package deal. But it appears that was just his own phrasing.
“I wouldn’t say too much of a package deal but more so I come in and do my thing as well as he does,” he said. “I let the college coaches see that and they like it.”
He hasn’t played high school ball since 2014. How does he get noticed? It is a combination of his two-year-old film and then sending along video clips of himself working out on his own. The receiver and defensive back prospect sent out video cut-ups of him working on routes against a few training partners.
“It is more than likely that we do both go to the same school,” LJ Holloman said.
LJ said Auburn, Georgia, Oregon and Tennessee are all recruiting him well. The Ducks are currently his only full scholarship offer.
“The coaches look at him and see his build and his potential even though he hasn’t really trained that much at receiver,” Jeremiah Holloman said. “I mean he’s a great athlete. It runs in our family. When he gets with the proper coaching then there is no limit to what he is capable of.”
LJ Holloman didn’t get much interest as a senior as he didn’t get his time to make a lot of plays until late in his senior year. He currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach at Newton.
“It has been pretty hard and people don’t understand how tough it was to sit back on the sidelines,” he said. “I had to get out on the field on weekends and during the day I had to get my cleats on, get on the field and get to work.”
Why did he stick with it?
“I’ve got a feeling,” LJ Holloman said. “I got a dream that I’m going to make it so I’m going to keep fighting.”
Who’s faster? Their parents gave the nod to LJ but felt Jeremiah was the better jumper. LJ felt that his younger brother was faster. They haven’t raced lately, but he gave it to him off times.
“But if you ask him he would probably say that he would give it to me,” LJ Holloman said.
LJ Holloman said that the college coaches compare his athletic ability to his younger brother a lot, but that the one difference might be he’s a little more physical. His parents felt he would be a great defensive back prospect because of how he likes to hit and all the tackles he made on special teams.
LJ couldn’t say which school was recruiting the both of them the best but felt Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee were all in the top group.
Is he worried about Georgia’s struggles?
“Nope,” LJ Holloman said. “Not at all. Next year if we get out there then it will be a different story.”
He said he’s fully qualified to enroll in college next fall. Jeremiah Holloman added that he felt Georgia and Tennessee were recruiting both of them the best at this time.
He said this feels like legit interest in his brother and not just them saying the right things to land one of the nation’s finest athletes in the Class of 2017.
“You know it is sincere the coaches are asking about him more than the asking more about him than they are asking about me,” Jeremiah Holloman said. “They are asking me about his classes and making sure he is following through with all of his grades.”
Kirby Smart pays another high school visit
UGA head coach Kirby Smart used his bye week efficiently on the recruiting trail. He made another trip to visit key recruits on Friday night. He went to see perhaps two of Georgia’s top 2017 targets earlier this year in South Georgia and saw at least another six major targets at the Newton-Grayson clash.
“That was great,” Jeremiah Holloman said. “Coach Smart came out to support see and see me do my thing. You had to see that red hat. It is still a really great feeling for me right now with UGA.”
He said Smart didn’t tell him he was coming. The only contact he had was that Smart sent him a message to call him after the Grayson game.
Gibbs is also not worried about UGA’s struggles
Grayson athlete DeAngelo Gibbs also told DawgNation recently he won’t degrade his interest in Georgia because of the team’s up-and-down start under Smart.
“I know the program that he is building,” Gibbs said. “I know him as a coach and as a person and as a person all-around. I believe he is building something great and it is just not going to be an instant fix.”
Gibbs is rated as the nation’s No. 3 safety for this year’s signing class. He’s the top remaining uncommitted prospect in Georgia and will be a December graduate. He’s slotted as the No. 42 overall prospect for 2017 and ranks highly on DawgNation’s Top 5 remaining targets this year.
The 4-star safety took his first official visit to Alabama over the weekend and really enjoyed it.
Official visit at #RollTide is going too good.
— Deangelo Gibbs (@gibbsdeangelo1) October 22, 2016
He’s still working through a long list of contenders for those four other official visits, but he told DawgNation that USC was going to still get one of those.
“Southern California came by today and really wanted me to come out and see the West Coast,” Gibbs said. “I am definitely going to take a visit out there. I think that’s going to be another one of my officials.”
His older sister went out to the West Coast on a basketball scholarship and played for the Trojans. So his family is quite used to that campus.
What’s the truest thing that he can tell everyone about his recruiting right now?
“I am enjoying it and loving it but there will be a time that I will have to pick soon,” Gibbs said. “But right now I am not sure. That’s the one true thing with me right now.”
Gibbs said that he still does not know which school would be the best one for him at this time.
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.