Former Michigan State Football player Gerald Holmes did not receive an invite to this month’s NFL Combine. However, he sure gave some doubt to that decision for NFL Scouts after producing an impressive showcase at Michigan State’s 2018 Pro Day Friday afternoon.
Holmes was one of five former Spartans (offensive lineman Brian Allen, linebacker Chris Frey Jr., defensive lineman Demetrius Cooper, kicker Brett Scanlon) that competed in agility drills, measurements, and position drills in front of scouts that represent over half of the teams in the National Football League.
Holmes was by far the most impressive.
“The emotions were everywhere,” Holmes said. “It’s kind of hard to explain. It is something you always dream of. I’m not there yet but I’m close. Just kind of going in I wanted to put my best foot forward in the drills and try to show them (scouts) what I can do. I’m not one of the high-toughed guys when it comes to publicity but I feel like I am one of the top running backs in this draft un-drafted or drafted.”
If he had been an invitee to the Combine, Holmes’ measurables would have stacked up with some of the best on the list. His 17-rep bench press would have been good for twelfth among running back participants and eclipsed the 15 reps from first round prospect Derrius Guice from LSU and the 13 reps from mid-round prospect Rashaad Penny from San Diego State. His 10-foot-8-inch broad jump, tied with Georgia’s Nick Chubb, would have been good for second amongst combine running backs. And his 35-inch vertical would have been good for eleventh at the combine.
Gerald Holmes with 17 reps. pic.twitter.com/AXN9YOL80G
— Matt Wenzel (@mwenzel2) March 23, 2018
“I think it went pretty good,” Holmes said. “I think some things could have went better if I approached it differently, like the bench press I kind of rushed it, but overall I think I put my best foot forward and showed them what I can do.”
All were impressive numbers that could give him a second look from teams in the late rounds.
Holmes then participated in position drills where he used his speed as well as his hands to show what he can provide as a receiver. Again, there were no blemishes. Holmes was thrown seven passes. The routes were crisp and above everything else no passes were dropped. That is a part of his game that Holmes has always taken pride of.
“You know the pros is a passing league but not even that, I feel like when you are a running back your job is the ball,” he said. “No matter how it’s given you must receive it. I want to be one of those guys where when the ball is coming my way it is more likely I am going to catch it.”
Spartan fans have been accustomed to seeing Holmes used as a weapon out of the backfield since he arrived on campus in 2014. He finished his career with 29 receptions that accumulated 220 yards and scored one touchdown. It did not top the team, but it did stand out.
Michigan State Football coach Mark Dantonio was not the least surprised about the output Holmes showed.
“I think Gerald is a very good football player,” he said. “He has played a lot of football for us the last three years. He’s been a centerpiece guy you know when other players are out or when he has been the starter. He has had some very big games. He’s been a third down back, he catches the ball very well, you guys saw that today. Physically he is big, can run powerful, can jump, those type of things. I think what he is looking for is an opportunity and given that opportunity he is going to compare very favorably with a lot of players they have in that league.”
Gerald Holmes in drills. pic.twitter.com/cYHQK8j48w
— Matt Wenzel (@mwenzel2) March 23, 2018
After Friday, there is nothing more that Holmes can do. He has his film and what he showed scouts at Pro Day. Over the next month he will begin meetings with teams that start in a couple of weeks with his in-state team in the Detroit Lions. With the Lions and the other teams he will meet with, it is Holmes’ job to sell himself on what he can be as a player and as a person in the community.
“I am a leader, I pride myself on that,” said Holmes. “I am a warm guy that can approach anybody in the locker-room. And when it is time to work I am there to work.”
Come time for the NFL Draft, starting on April 26, Holmes will take days to “get his mind away”. He will spend some time in Las Vegas before visiting his father in Seattle where he will wait for that one team to potentially call his phone. And if the ring doesn’t come, Holmes will find a way to continue his dream.
“The NFL has shown for years that there are a million loop-holes to get in there. All you need is for that one team to fall in love with you and that is what I am waiting on.”
Contact Justin Frommer: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jbf3498.