UA recruit off to 'lightning' start - Tucson News Now

UA recruit off to 'lightning' start

Anthony Gimino Anthony Gimino
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By Anthony Gimino / Special for Tucson News Now

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - One of the most intriguing players in the Arizona Wildcats' 2015 football recruiting class is all-purpose back Darick Holmes Jr., who is off to a fast start at Newbury Park (Calif.) High School.

His offensive coordinator there just happens to be former UA quarterback Keith Smith, and the team's offensive line coach is ex-Arizona lineman Joe Smigiel.

Holmes has 24 receptions and seven touchdowns, including three in a 200-yard performance last week.

I caught up with Smith, a Newbury Park alum, to talk about Holmes, who is about 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds.

"He's lightning in a bottle. I don't know how else to describe him," Smith said. "He's a complete football player, offensively and defensively. I have never seen a kid that size who absolutely dominates a football game. Never seen it. You can't tackle him. One guy never brings him down."

Holmes has mostly been playing slot receiver at Newbury Park.

"At some point, I'm probably going to hand him the ball 25 times in a game," Smith said.

Smith uses a zone-read/bubble screen kind of offense that will perfectly prepare Holmes for his role at Arizona. UA coaches sold him on having the same kind of potential impact from the slot as Tavon Austin did at West Virginia.

"In my opinion, he's a perfect slot receiver for what RichRod is doing at Arizona," Smith said. "You talk about being able to get guys in space ... he's tailor-made for RichRod's offense."

Holmes, a three-star prospect by the major recruiting services, is still being heartily pursued by Washington.

His brother, Darnay, only a sophomore, is an even bigger prospect. He's a receiver/cornerback and is a couple of inches taller than Darick. Arizona - and about 20 other schools - already have offered a scholarship to Darnay, rated the 28th-best sophomore in the country by 247Sports.

"I'm sitting here shaking my head watching these guys on the field," Smith said.

"And (Darnay) has the same kind of personality as Darick. Just a joy to be around. The other kids gravitate to them like crazy."

Their father, Darick Holmes Sr., was a running back in the NFL in the 1990s, appearing in 60 games.

QUOTABLE

"What I can say about Nick is he's really mature. I don't look at him as a freshman. I don't have to worry about him. I know that he knows that I know that he knows what he's doing, you know?" -- Center Steven Gurrola, on freshman RB Nick Wilson.

QUICK HITS

- You might notice the name A.J. Greathouse on the Cal roster. The true freshman is listed as a second-string cornerback. He's the son of former Arizona running back Art Greathouse.

- The Arizona roster includes a couple of recently added walk-ons, including sophomore linebacker Jason Sweet. No biographical information is listed yet, but, according to this story, he's a 26-year-old former Air Force Sergeant who served in Afghanistan.

- Cal hasn't played in Tucson since 2010, when Arizona was lucky to win 10-9. The Bears' Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 40-yard field goal with 2:37 left, and then the Wildcats drove for the winning touchdown. The Cats got a leaping catch from Juron Criner on a deep ball from Nick Foles for a 51-yard gain, and that same combo hooked up three plays later on a 3-yard touchdown pass.

Anthony Gimino has covered University of Arizona athletics for more than two decades, including as the football beat writer for the Arizona Daily Star and the columnist for the Tucson Citizen.

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