D.H. Conley High School quarterback Holton Ahlers, a four-star recruit, spent most of his junior season putting up crazy offensive numbers. He threw for over 4,500 yards. He threw 51 touchdown passes. He scored 15 more touchdowns on the ground.
Those are video game-like numbers.
Thus a nickname was born. Halfway through this past football season I decided to call Ahlers “Video Game.” I was going to go with “Madden,” but Holton told me he liked “Video Game” better.
If ever a nickname fits, it’s this one.
Conley is located just south of Greenville, minutes away from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. On Monday morning at the school, Ahlers invited his family, friends, teammates and classmates to share in his decision on a college destination.
He took to the microphone and made his announcement.
“I’ll be staying at home at East Carolina,” he announced.
The crowd roared with approval.
Holton Ahlers will be a great fit at East Carolina. He has an outstanding work ethic and will only get bigger and better, stronger and faster, under ECU strength and conditioning coach Jeff Connors.
North Carolina State made a great push to steal Ahlers away from his hometown. Dave Doeren and his staff were relentless in their pursuit of the Conley star. I believe they had the lead early in Holt’s recruiting.
Pirate blood runs deep purple in the Ahlers family. Holt’s Dad, Morgan, is the public address announcer at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and Minges Coliseum. His Mom, Jill, is an ECU graduate. Holt has been at ECU games all of his life.
“We wanted this to be his decision,” said his father. “He is the one that has to be happy. We are very proud of how he’s handled everything.”
Holton Ahlers is already a hometown hero. He is the all-time home run champion in the prestigious Greenville Little League. He led his all-star team to a nationally televised regional game on ESPN. He was a man among boys at a young age.
Ahlers started playing football in 7th grade at Chicod Middle School. He started at quarterback and absolutely fell in love with the sport and the position.
He is an excellent baseball player and can certainly hold his own on the basketball court.
Football, though, became his passion.
“I just love everything about football,” said Ahlers. “From 7th grade on it’s been my true passion.”
“He really deserves this,” said D.H. Conley coach Nate Conner. “You won’t find a harder worker and I look forward to watching him play at East Carolina.”
Ahlers will finish up his high school football career at D.H. Conley this fall and will enroll at ECU in the spring of 2018. This way he can get a head start on life on and off the field as a Division I athlete.
“I’m looking forward to enrolling early,” said Ahlers. “I want to get to work as soon as I possibly can.”
Pirate fans also look forward to that day.
Click the link below for a first look at the thumbnails page for ECU’s recruiting class of 2018.