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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, June 27, 2008

By Sammy Batten

THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008  •  2009

Lexington linebacker steeped in football

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Ty Holmes grew up in a town and in a home where football is a big deal.

Holmes hails from Lexington, NC, where the local high school program was a state powerhouse during the 1980's when it claimed two straight state championships and was a runner-up once.

Two players who keyed Lexington’s run to the championship game in 1980 when it lost to Burlington Williams, 29-14, were tight end Charles Holmes and running back Joe McIntosh.

Charles Holmes is Ty’s father and McIntosh, who went on to win Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year honors at N.C. State in 1981, is Ty’s godfather.

“I guess I didn’t have any choice but to the love the game,’’ Ty Holmes said.

Ty Holmes not only has love for the game, but he plays it pretty darn well, too.

Well enough, at least, to earn a scholarship offer from the East Carolina Pirates. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker-defensive back starter for Lexington decided to accept and made a verbal commitment to the ECU recruiting Class of 2009 on June 23.

“I really liked the personality of their coaches,’’ Ty Holmes said Thursday. “They really interact with their players. Some coaches just coach, and don’t have a relationship with players. But I felt like if I went to East Carolina I’d have a relationship with the coaches and I’d be able to talk to them when I have something to talk about.’’

Tutored by his father and godfather, Holmes has been a stellar performer on the Lexington football scene since his recreation days. Much of his early career was spent playing flag football because there were no organized tackle leagues in Lexington until Holmes reach the third grade.

Instead, Holmes spent hours throwing, kicking and catching the football with his father.

“My dad coached me my first five years playing football,’’ Holmes said. “He basically told me how to catch and run, so I was pretty good from the start.’’

The raw talent was even more evident by the time Holmes reached Lexington High, where he started on the varsity as a freshman and sophomore. He emerged as a true star during that sophomore season when he averaged nearly 15 tackles and produced three sacks in about four straight games.

Chris Deal came aboard as head coach in 2007 with hopes of reviving a Lexington program that had fallen on hard times. Deal realized very quickly he had a special talent in Holmes.

“As soon as I got him on the field I knew he was a difference maker,’’ Deal said. “Last year we came in and put in a new offense and a new defense. It took everyone a little time to catch on. But he was the one who caught on the quickest and he had a great year for us.’’

Holmes collected 75 solo tackles as a junior, had four quarterback sacks and made two interceptions. He also played sparingly at receiver on offense, catching two passes, both for touchdowns.

Deal said Holmes, who has 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, has super agility and plays with an aggressive style. He cited two plays Holmes made last season as examples of those skills.

“Against Central Davidson, he was in his backpedal playing pass defense,’’ Deal said. “The ball was thrown and it was tipped, which changed the trajectory. But Ty made an unbelievably athletic play to come up and intercept the ball. And he stayed on his feet to return it.

“Then, against Forbush they ran a sweep. He makes a huge play by coming up and knocking the kid through the chains on the sideline. They lost two or three yards. He made a lot of plays like that for us last year.’’

Holmes says the latter play is typical of his style.

“I like putting the fear in somebody’s heart,’’ he said. “If you can make a person fear you on the field, the game is pretty much over. So at the beginning of each game I try to set the tone.’’

East Carolina could use Holmes at safety or linebacker, but Deal expects him to grow into an outside linebacker.

“He’s still going to put on some more size,’’ Deal said. “He’s got a great frame on him. He’s athletic enough he could play wide receiver, but I think they’ll stick him at outside linebacker and I bet he becomes a good one.’’

Holmes is the fifth player to join the ECU recruiting Class of 2009 and he’s the fourth in-state prospect.

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06/27/2008 03:07:30 AM


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