St. Pius linebacker T.J. Holloman committed to South Carolina on Sunday night. On Monday, he said his next order of business was recruiting his high school teammate for the Gamecocks — cornerback Geno Smith, who is a candidate to be Georgia’s No. 1 college football prospect for next year.
“I want to help South Carolina in recruiting by having the best 2012 class, starting by working on my teammate Geno,” Holloman said.
Holloman gave three reasons for picking the Gamecocks: “No. 1, Coach Spurrier stresses the importance of graduation and, as an athlete, it is important for me to excel in the classroom first. I believe in order to do well on the field, it starts in the classroom. No. 2, South Carolina has a winning record for the past two years and made it to the SEC Championship, showing the program is a great competitor in the best conference in the country. No. 3, when I attended the Spring Game I observed the number of fans there. I realized football is important to the fans in South Carolina and I am really big on fan support.”
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder is being recruited by the Gamecocks at linebacker. Holloman also had scholarship offers from Louisville, Illinois and North Carolina State and was being evaluated by North Carolina and Vanderbilt, among others. He recently attended one of the Junior Days at Georgia, and had some early interest from Georgia Tech.
“He committed early because he felt good about South Carolina — the coaches, the school and I think he was ready to get this part of the process behind him,” St. Pius coach Paul Standard said. “I think it felt right for him to do it now.”
Holloman plays in the shadows of Smith. However, Holloman may be close in athleticism with Smith — and even better with his versatility. Holloman is the backup QB at the Atlanta private school and was called into action against No. 7-ranked North Hall last season. Holloman looked like a seasoned veteran, rushing 16 times for 251 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of play in the 49-8 win.
He will be a three-year starter at St. Pius, playing both sides of the ball last season. Standard thinks he can play multiple positions at South Carolina.
“Wherever you put T.J. on the field, he makes things happen,” Standard said.
Holloman showed his toughness as a sophomore, injuring his shin in a scrimmage and returning a few minutes later to play. He also started the next week in the season opener. However, in the next few days, he realized what he thought was a bruised shin might be something more serious. He got it checked out by doctors and was diagnosed with a fracture. He sat out for six games, returning in time for the playoff run by St. Pius.
Analysis: Holloman is one of the better high school football players in the Atlanta area. He seems to always be around the football and in position to make the big play. He didn’t have as many scholarship offers (at least not yet) because many colleges weren’t sure where exactly he projects to play at the next level. They wanted to see him up close and personal at summer camps, and perhaps a few games into his senior year. Nice pickup by SC.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog