TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Sunday was a big day for Miami (Fla.) Southridge defensive backs Gerrod Holliman and Andrew Johnson and not just because it was the 4th of July holiday. In fact, the holiday was the last thing on their minds.
First the two had plans on winning the BadgerSports 7on7 National Championship with their South Florida Express 7on7 team - a feat that they accomplished in dramatic fashion. To celebrate, they decided to make their college decision together and committed to Ole Miss.
Earlier this summer, Holliman and Johnson made a college tour with their coach and some other Florida prospects and the highlight of the trip was their stop in Oxford. On the way up to Tuscaloosa for this weekend's tournament, they once again stopped in Oxford and though they couldn't meet up with the coaches, the trip solidified what their interest in the SEC program.
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"First, when I got off the bus, the atmosphere felt like I was still at home," Johnson said on Sunday. "The coaches were fathers to us. The players treated us like brothers, like we were already family. And me and Gerrod made the decision that Ole Miss was where we want to be."
That family feel was the same factor that drew Holliman in.
"I know their coaches and they show me love," Holliman said. "I feel like we're a family already. Even when we went on our trip the first time, we got a deep relationship with the coaches. And then I love their campus and the academic facilities and everything."
Johnson was confident that the South Florida Express would emerge from the weekend tournament as champions and that timing worked out perfectly for announcing his college decision.
"I didn't want to wait too late," Johnson said. "I didn't want to have a lot of people guessing where we were going to go. After this, I knew we were going to win this, so after this would be a good moment to decide where we were going."
"Plus we went to most of the schools that we thought we were interested in and there was nothing like Ole Miss," added Holliman.
Landing one of the two Southridge four-stars would be a huge commitment but to get both in the same phone call is a huge momentum builder for the Rebels. As Holliman revealed though, the two were a package deal, even if that wasn't something that they would say publicly.
"We knew we were going to play together but we didn't really want to show it too much," Holliman said. "We just told a couple of reporters that we were thinking about it. But when we were together, we talked about it every day that we were going to go to the same school."
Now that that school has been revealed to be Ole Miss, Holliman and Johnson become the third and fourth four-star commitments in Ole Miss' 2011 class.