Region 4-AAAA coaches let out a cohesive sigh of relief on Monday when Eastside senior defensive end Arthur Holmes announced he would be signing to play football at Reinhardt University in the fall.
“It feels pretty good. All my hard work went to success and I’m happy about that,” Holmes said.
“I’m very proud,” Telly Shaw. Holmes’ father, said. “It’s a day that I’ve been waiting on. He’s a very hard worker and he’s also very humble and respectful. I’m just real proud.”
Holmes, a Region 4-AAAA Player of the Year award winner, finished this past season in the top-five in sacks in 4-AAAA a tremendous accomplishment for a player who missed the Eagles first game.
“That’s a pretty high accolade (Region 4-AAAA Player of the Year) when people that didn’t even play against him saw him on film and felt he’s worthy enough of having that honor. That kind of tells you what kind of player he is,” Rick Hurst, Eagles’ head coach, said.
“We got him back game two last year and it was like, wow. Our defense improved in one week,” Hurst added. “He’s a difference maker and he’s not reached his full potential. He’s gonna get up there and really excel. Academically he’s good and athletically he’s good. He’s smart and that’s the thing that gives him the ability that they can use him in a lot of different ways.”
Hurst says that Holmes might have gotten looks from even bigger schools if the Eagles didn’t have to play him on the defensive line. Because of that, schools didn’t get to see how athletic Holmes is, but what Reinhardt saw and everybody else who watched Holmes play is his extreme work ethic.
“He’s got a motor,” Hurst said fondly. “He always has. He’s always highly motivated. He’s always been a kid that works extremely hard in the weight room and he’s battled through injuries.”
Holmes says that Reinhardt liked his athleticism and physicality. He said this new coaches haven’t said where they want to use him, but Holmes says he’d prefer to be a dropback defensive end or outside linebacker.
“That’s why a lot of people liked him because he is that hybrid guy,” Hurst said. “He can put his hand on the ground and get you on a speed rush or a bull rush. I think he can back off in space and play off the line of scrimmage and is athletic enough to play out there in space. We did a little bit with him, but when we stood him up we were moving him around and bringing him kind of like a defensive end that was moving just to create different problems for people.”
“If he does what he’s supposed to do he’ll come out of there with a degree and that’s really all it’s about, but he’ll also get to play football at a high level. That’s all we can ask for,” Hurst said proudly.
Shaw says that he knew Holmes had potential the first day that he started playing recreation football. He added that Arthur had the right attitude toward football and that he has great leadership skills on and off the field. Holmes will be at Reinhardt in the fall, and he’s come a long way from rec-league.