St. Pius X. (Atlanta, Ga.) LB T.J. Holloman committed to South Carolina Sunday over offers from N.C. State, Illinois and Louisville. Holloman will debut on Scout as a mid-three star prospect. He is the Gamecocks' second commitment of the 2012 class and was recruited by Lorenzo Ward.
St. Pius X. (Atlanta, Ga.) LB T.J. Holloman says South Carolina had been on his mind for some time. After a visit over the weekend to sit in on meetings Friday and for the Garnet and Black spring game Saturday, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound prospect knew South Carolina was the place for him.
"I got a good chance to listen to Coach (Steve) Spurrier speak to the players," Holloman said. "He's always emphasizing finish strong in the classroom. And I'm big on grades. I feel like to be successful on the field, you've got to be successful in the classroom first. And it all starts with your head coach. So, by him emphasizing grades it showed that he's just not all about football grades. He's about winning football games and grades.
"And then he talked about the interesting fact that for the past two years they've been 12-2 at home, and I realized that that means they're winning games. Last year they made it to the SEC Championship and I want to feel like I'm a part of a program that gets it done both on the field and off the field."
After getting home and thinking about the visit, Holloman called his recruiter of record Lorenzo Ward Sunday night.
"I called Coach Ward and we were talking and I told him how much I enjoyed the visit. And then I told him I wanted to commit. He was like, 'that's great,' and then he linked me to Coach Spurrier and let me talk to Coach Spurrier.
"He was just talking about how excited he was that I'm going to be a Gamecock and to keep working hard and finish strong in my senior year and have a great senior and he can't wait to get me up there for some more games this Fall."
Holloman's mother was instrumental in his recruiting process.
"She's very excited," he said. "She was the main influence on going to South Carolina. She is really, really excited about it. Her and Coach Ward have a great relationship along with my father, they were both just excited to finally hear it come out of my mouth that I really wanted to go to South Carolina."
Holloman also enjoys a great relationship with Ward.
"Me and him hit it off the first time we went up there to meet with them on the junior day. He was so nice to me and my mom and my parents. When we came back down Friday it was just like we never left. And he's just so nice and always encouraging.
"My family likes him and I like him, so he was one of the reasons I did commit because I feel like when I go there I'll have somebody that I can go to to talk to in Coach Ward."
Holloman, who will debut on Scout as a mid-three star prospect, also enjoyed the time he spent with the current South Carolina players.
"I got to sit in on some meetings and I saw how they interacted with the coaches, and they were always respectful. Some of the players introduced themselves to me like Marcus Lattimore and some of the linebackers and defensive backs. I felt like by them introducing [themselves to] me, they showed to upcoming players how much they want us to come in and be a Gamecock with them because they want to win."
He also enjoyed his time at the spring game Saturday.
"I like the defense they run. What I mainly took from the spring game was the amount of fan support they had just for a spring game. I'm really big on fan support and just seeing all those fans at the game, made me realize that football is really big to the fans. I just can't wait to get up there this fall and watch all the games."
Holloman plans to major in Accounting.
"My mom majored in Accounting and I feel like if I needed some help I could go to here. And with the tutor system at South Carolina which is another big support for me, that I can excel in Accounting, because my highest grade in high school is in Math."
"The brand new academic center - all the stuff they had, the computers, the access to tutors and just the whole setup - I really bought into when Coach Ward was just laying [out] everything that the people work for just for the football department."
Holloman was also receiving interest from schools like Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and North Carolina, but says he knew Columbia was the place for him.
"I took all the visits and it just all came at South Carolina, so that's how I really knew that I wanted to go to South Carolina."
The well-spoken Holloman says he will now turn his attention to having a big senior year and recruiting other players to Carolina.
"My friend Geno Smith, he's a big-time recruit, too, so I'm going to work on him. Hopefully, he'll swing this way to be a Gamecock, too."
He also provided a good idea of what type player and person Gamecock fans will be cheering on in the future.
"You're going to see a hard-working player, a versatile player on the defensive side of the ball. I feel like I can cover slot receivers, come up and make the tackle and rush the quarterback. I just feel like I just bring a different element to the game by being versatile as a linebacker, cause most people see linebackers at just coming up for the hit.
"I feel like I'm a great student of the game and I always watch film constantly to improve myself on the field. I feel like bring that hard work to USC will show the fans how hard-working I am and bring more wins to USC."