Harrisonburg’s (VA) running game was tough to stop last season, thanks in part to the performances of junior running back Landon Turner. The 6-6, 300-pound Turner entered the 2009 season as the more well known prospect, but the 6-0, 200-pound Holmes earned attention from college recruiters with a big-time junior season including several remarkable performances.
Holmes burst onto the scene in 2009, rushing for 914 yards in Harrisonburg’s first three games. He broke out in a big way in game number three, rushing for 413 yards and eight touchdowns in a 69-27 win over Robert E. Lee Staunton. Each of Holmes’ eight scores came in the first half, tying a state record.
“I think we all knew that Michael was a special athlete,” Harrisonburg head coach Tim Sarver said. “The thing is, he played behind Alex Owah, so he didn’t get as much recognition as he might have had. As he played, he showed he could do just as good a job as anybody we’ve ever had. It was a pleasant surprise for him to do as well as he did this year.”
Holmes would go on to rush for 2,580 yards on the year, helping Harrisonburg to a 10-2 overall record including an appearance in the Region III, Division 4 final. He showed an ability to run inside and outside, displaying good speed and big-play ability.
“I consider Michael a cutback runner,” Sarver said. “He has exceptional speed. He has exceptionally strong legs and he is a great cutback runner. He is able to use his hips to keep out of sight of tacklers. He is able to run inside and outside.”
James Madison was the first school to offer an official scholarship. Earlier this month, Virginia Tech stepped forward as well.
“The first day they were able to come over, JMU sent their staff over and offered,” Sarver said. “Coach Beamer and [North Carolina head coach] Butch Davis came down. Michael pretty well put his name on the map to be recruited. Coach Beamer told me he had offered both Landon and Michael.”
Virginia head coach Mike London has also expressed interest in the talented back.
“UVa is definitely back in the picture,” Sarver said. “Coach London has done a great job of sending people over and they are interested in both young men.”
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