2013 commit Gerald Holmes is more than just a superstar football player.
The running back out of Flintâ€™s Carman-Ainsworth has faced his fair share of adversity in his young life, and the strength with which he has gotten through it has made him a tough leader.
He lost his mother at age five, which he says motivates him.
â€œI just want to do what would make her proud if she was here,â€ he says.Â â€œMy dad is so hardworking, and my stepmom has helped me a lot along the way, too, so that motivates me.â€
Even after an injury last year, the Spartans kept a scholarship offer, and he committed to the team more than a year before signing day.
Beyond the obvious commitment MSU showed, Holmes says he wants to go play for the Spartans for the â€œbig games,â€ such as last weekâ€™s high profile matchup against Ohio State, which brought the ESPN GameDay crew to town.
â€œIâ€™m real happy about (GameDay coming),â€ he says.Â â€œStuff like that is great for the program.â€ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ
He says he is happy to see how junior running back LeVeon Bell has been â€œholding it down this season,â€ and says that while he is in no hurry to get to his level, he knows it can happen for him.
â€œMy time will come when Iâ€™m there,â€ he says.
It is this attitude that has allowed him to become such a leader to his high school teammates.
â€œMental toughness is one of the main things you have to do to do well in this sport,â€ he says.Â â€œFirst when Mom died and then getting hurt, I had to have that mental strength to get through it and just use it as motivation.
â€œWhen my teammates drop their heads, I really look to them like â€˜push, pushâ€™.â€
Like several other members of the class of 2013 that Spartan Nation has talked to, Holmes has been studying this yearâ€™s MSU games to improve his own.
â€œI sit back and watch, try to put myself in their shoes to see what I wouldâ€™ve done.Â I go over there games and compare it.â€
This method seems to be working for him, as he personally received an invite to represent his country on Team USA.
â€œIâ€™m just staying humble and letting everything play out.â€