Two-way potential for Holland at Florida
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 12:10 a.m.
After watching the beginning of Friday Night Lights from the sidelines, Jeff Holland couldn’t keep himself from stepping on the field.
“I couldn’t take it,” Holland said. “I like to compete. I just started competing.”
A standout outside linebacker from Trinity Christian High in Jacksonville, Holland wowed fans on both offense and defense during last week’s recruiting event at Florida Field. Along with doing some agility drills at linebacker, Holland ran some pass patterns and did a somersault flip after catching a touchdown pass during one-on-one drills.
Holland said he would like to be a two-way player in college.
“Florida tells me I could play both sides,” Holland said. “Probably a wideout or a tight end.”
But Holland has made more of a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball, because of his ability to get to the quarterback. A 6-foot-1, 225-pound outside linebacker, Holland is a four-star recruit, ranked by Rivals.com as the 15th best prospect in Florida and 64th best prospect in the nation in the Class of 2015.
Playing for Florida coach Will Muschamp, who has built UF’s identity around a physical, attacking defense, is appealing to Holland.
“He’s going to call good defensive plays, put you in the perfect spot on defense,” Holland said. “He’s going to put you in the spot where you can make plays.”
More specifically, Holland said he sees himself as a good fit at the buck, a hybrid linebacker/defensive end position designed to rush the quarterback from the edge. Junior Dante Fowler Jr. recorded 3.5 sacks from the buck position for the Gators last season.
“I can play that after he leaves,” Holland said. “I can just come in and make plays, because the plus about Florida, they didn’t recruit a linebacker, an outside linebacker for the 2014 class.”
But Holland hasn’t made up his mind yet. He says Florida, Auburn and UCLA are all “neck and neck” and also said he’ll probably take a visit to Florida State. Holland had an uncle who played at Auburn, so the pull from the plains is strong. And Holland has no qualms about going cross country to play for a UCLA program revived by current coach Jim Mora.
“I really like UCLA,” Holland said. “They’ve been doing a great job.”
Holland said he intends to wait until December to make his decision and plans to enroll in college in January to get a head start on his freshman season. A lifelong Florida fan, Holland said he doesn’t need too much feedback from current Gator players before making his commitment.
“They don’t have to really tell me anything because I see it,” Holland said. “I know that Coach Muschamp takes care of his players. They stay well taken care of. That’s my only big thing, my family, they want to see me get well taken care of.”