MATTHEWS, N.C. – DeVonte Holloman, a prospect who has been on the recruiting map for years already, has built up an impressive offer list that includes the likes of Florida, Clemson, North Carolina, LSU and Michigan.
What has college coaches standing in line to land the 6-foot-2, 213-pound safety?
"I'm able to read the plays well and know what's going on back there," Holloman said Saturday afternoon at the Five-Star Academy at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C. "My coaches teach me the right techniques to react and see the game."
Coming out of Charlotte (N.C.) Independence, one of the nation's elite powerhouses, has its perks for suitors, too. The Patriots have won seven of the last eight 4-AA state titles.
"It's an advantage," he admitted. "Coach Tommy Knotts was at Duke so he runs a college program. So when you get to college you will know what to expect."
The program has been an indirect pipeline for the Georgia Bulldogs over the recent past. Joe Cox and Mohamed Massaquoi play for the Bulldogs and in 2008 and Mark Richt's program signed Makiri Pugh this past February.
"I call (quarterbacks) coach Mike Bobo but haven't been getting an answer from him lately," the Tar Heel State product mentioned. "I talked to Makiri about it the other night. He loves the school a lot. That's why he chose it. I want to get down there and see what his love for the school is like so maybe I can get the same thing. He and I are really good friends but that won't impact my decision. Georgia is one of many schools I'm looking at."
What program does he consider his biggest offer so far?
"That's a good question," he said. "Georgia is always in contention but maybe LSU because they just won it all or Florida because they won it a couple years ago? That's a tough question."
And are there any offers he'd like to receive?
"Of course Southern Cal and probably Texas because they don't offer a lot of players out of state," he said. "Those two would be great. I'd rather stay somewhat close to home if I can but I am not against going to a great program far away if it's a fit."
Holloman hopes to take all five official visits before making his decision, but if he feels that vibe on an early visit he'll pull the trigger.
"Makiri visited Georgia and Virginia but they weren't officials," he said. "I'd like to take a little longer than that and take official visits."
As for being ranked in the Rivals100, Holloman said he was happy but of course wasn't satisfied with his placement.
"I'm sure that happens a lot," he smiled. "I've been following Rivals.com for years and to see myself in the top 100 is great, but I'd like to move up on the list. I think I'm too low."
Holloman is currently ranked No. 85 on the latest Rivals250 that came out Tuesday.
Given his frame, a position change could be a possibility in college, but it's not something he hopes for.
"Some are staying strong or free safety, depending on my speed when I get there," the blue-chipper entailed. "Some people are saying linebacker, which I don't like as much. I'd much rather be a rover. Wherever I fit in and can help the team is where I'll play though, the team comes first. I weighed 213 pounds today at the event so I can't seem to stop growing and getting bigger so we'll see where I end up."
Holloman boasts a 3.8 GPA, bench presses 270 pounds, squats 400 pounds and runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He had two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 50 tackles as a junior, while also splitting time playing quarterback, too.
"I might have to play some quarterback this year as well," he said. "I'd rather not because I think I want to focus on defense more and it would be easier to play wide receiver or running back on offense, but I'll do whatever we need."
Holloman didn't lose a game his first two years at Independence as the Patriots continued their 109-game winning streak that stretched over seven years. However, the streak came to an end last year at the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge when Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder defeated Independence 41-34 in overtime. The team also lost to Butler High School, ending its North Carolina winning streak, and lost to New Bern in the state championship game snapping its string of seven straight titles. Holloman wasn't happy but said it did take some pressure off.
"We had some guys who just weren't used to the winning tradition and we were inexperienced I think," he said. "Losing the streak in overtime was disappointing but it took the pressure off. People finally stopped feeling they had to be perfect. But it was a disappointing season."
Holloman is a very low-key kid off the field, soft spoken and certainly not considered wordy when answering questions. But on the field, he's a different player.
"I just flick a switch, it starts when the final bell rings to end the school day on game day," he said. "And it intensifies more and more as we get closer to the game. I turn into a bad person on the field. I love to hit and I now like to talk because it's part of the game, part of being a leader. I used to be quiet on the field but now I'll talk it up because guys on the other team are always talking at us."
As a sophomore on defense, the safety totaled 96 tackles and four interceptions.