Mark Dantonio Lands Big Bruising RB for First 2013 Commitment: Gerald Holmes!
When Mark Dantonio first arrived at Michigan State he had to take some chances in his earlier recruiting classes on young men he didn’t know. Because of the lack of time to get to know them, there were some misses on the character front and frankly some just on talent. Now entering his seventh class he not only knows the young men getting offers, but also has done all the work necessary to look into every young man he offers from a character perspective.
He landed his first commitment for the 2013 class on Sunday night. Not only is Flint’s Gerald Holmes a big bruising running back, he is a terrific young man. Another big back is a staple of the Dantonio regime. The first great one he had was Jehuu Caulcrick, then LeVeon Bell and now Holmes fits the mold. The way he attacks people when he runs has you looking behind him for an ambulance to gather the bodies.
At 6’1” and #209 the youngster out of Flint Carman Ainsworth has as big of a heart as he does a talent on the field. I caught up with Holmes at his home and he couldn’t stop talking about the impact this staff has already had on his life.
How did the MSU coaches impact him to pull the trigger to be their first commitment? “The first thing about Michigan State that really stuck out to me was the whole atmosphere, the coaches, the team, everything about the place impressed me. I missed half of last year with injuries. They stayed right with me. They saw my potential when everyone else backed off and waited to see if I would return, they believed in me and never stopped. They knew I was going to get better and they didn’t stop recruiting me. Michigan State is such a great program with a great running game. Their loyalty to me meant a lot.”
If you like the Caulcrick and Bell running style you will love Holmes. He runs right over people. He is a big bruiser with the ability to break away or run you over like a freight train.
I described his running style to him as mad at the world. He laughed and agreed. “I try to get to the endzone on every play. Whoever I have to get through is fine with me. Just give me the ball.”
He even talks like LeVeon Bell. I asked him if he was aware of the Spartan star RB and he didn’t hesitate to say, “Yes I look up to him. I got a chance to meet him early in the season when they played and I was up at a game. He is a really great guy and running back and I really look up to his style.”
It was not only the faith that the Spartan head coach and staff showed in Holmes that impressed him; it was also their personal faith. “I am at church every Sunday and it is how I was raised. It is part of who I am and it really meant a lot to me that they live their lives by those same values. Their faith showed me that they are headed on the right path and they are really a family. After hearing Coach D talk I knew right then that this was where I wanted to be. I try to use common sense and I try to carry myself as a presentable. It means a lot to have the blessing of being a person of faith and a football player.”
Holmes is humble, but I asked him to look ahead with me to running out of that tunnel at Spartan Stadium. Has he thought about what it will be like? “It will mean that even through my entire up and downs I have accomplished my goals. It will mean that I have not quit and that dreams do come true.”
One of the refreshing aspects of Holmes is his commitment to getting a degree. “The NFL is not promised. My goal is to play there, but it isn’t a promise. Even if I do play in the league I have to have something to use my life for after the game. I want to get that. It means a lot to me. Not just talking about it, I want to get it.”
There is no doubt that Mark Dantonio continues to accumulate great talent, but he also is adding great character. Holmes thankfully fits the Spartans scheme on the field, but more importantly their plan of getting Michigan’s finest young men off of it. Holmes has found a home and he is a good one.
CLICK RIGHT HERE to watch some amazing video highlights of Holmes 2011 season. Remember he missd half of the games.