Vols Among Top Contenders for Premier Four-Star Athlete

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    (Photo via @CaziahHolmes on Twitter/The Opening)

    One of the top athletes in the 2020 recruiting class took an official visit to Knoxville about three weeks ago. Now, he’s included the Vols as one of his top teams moving forward.

    Caziah Holmes is an electrifying athlete who plays for Cocoa High School in Cocoa, Florida. On Tuesday, he tweeted out a list of his top seven schools in his recruitment, and Tennessee made the cut. The Vols were joined by Florida, Auburn, Miami, Florida State, Penn State, and Kentucky. Holmes also added that he will be committing on August 9th.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Holmes is the No. 190 overall prospect and No. 9 athlete in the 2020 class. The regular 247Sports rankings have him rated even higher, coming in at No. 137 overall.

    The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete took an official visit to UT’s campus back on June 21st with his teammate, three-star offensive lineman Richie Leonard. That visit was Holmes’ last trip before the start of the NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period. He’s also taken official visits to Penn State and Kentucky. Holmes has made unofficial visits to see Florida, Auburn, Miami, and Florida State as well, which means he’s seen all seven schools listed among his top teams.

    Holmes participated in the Orlando regional of Nike’s The Opening back in February, and he excelled while there, earning an invite to The Opening Finals. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds and won the “fastest man race” twice.  He also ran the shuttle drill in 4.48 seconds and showed off a 38-inch vertical leap.

    While at The Opening Finals, Holmes again showed off, recording a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, a 4.10-second shuttle run, and a 40-inch vertical leap. He also had a power ball toss of 35 feet and earned an overall football rating of 115.89 at the event. He had the sixth-fastest 40-yard dash time at the event and was one of only a dozen players to record a 40-inch vertical.

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    As for how he performs on the field, there’s little question how good of an athlete he is.

    Holmes is explosive with the ball in his hands, and he uses his blend of good vision and elite speed to make eye-popping plays. He can make defenders look silly even when they take correct angles on him. He’s shifty and isn’t just a one-trick athlete. Holmes is a capable pass catcher and is extremely dangerous in space. He’s tougher than he looks, but he likely still needs to add on some weight to play in either the SEC or Big Ten depending on where he commits and signs. Fumbling is also a bit of an issue for him.

    As a junior, Holmes piled up 1,196 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on just 181 carries and added 17 receptions for 176 yards and three scores according to MaxPreps. He also plays defense, and he totaled 19 tackles, three passes defended, and a blocked field goal.

    The Vols could use a player with the type of explosive athleticism Holmes possesses, and it looks like he can be used in a variety of ways at the next level. Tennessee currently has 11 players committed to them in their 2020 recruiting class.