Gavin Holmes’ legs are his livelihood.
They’ve carried him to the pinnacle of his high school career, a chance to play college football at the Power 5 level.
But they also caused those dreams to flash before his eyes. In October of 2014 in his sophomore season, the Justin Northwest wide receiver ran a streak route down the sideline against Keller Timber Creek. When he turned to make his cut, his right leg buckled. The sound of a snap followed.
It was his tibia. It was broken and his season was over. At first, his playing future was uncertain.
“Honestly, it was blessing because it made me work harder,” Holmes said. “Everything for me skyrocketed. I knew I had to work 10 times harder. That was my motivation. Essentially, it made me want to master my craft.”
Consider it mastered. Following his official visit to Baylor this past weekend, Holmes (5-11, 186) verbally committed to Baylor. While nonbinding, this is it for Holmes. He and linebacker Caden McDonald, who is committed to San Diego State, will sign their letters of intent on Feb. 1. Holmes chose Baylor over Arizona State and Nebraska.
What really stuck out to me when I was talking with [Baylor head coach Matt] Rhule was my two little brothers. He told me that they could come see me play and I could be a part of their lives. And seeing how my parents interacted was something that made it click for me. That means everything to me.
- Justin Northwest wide receiver Gavin Holmes
Northwest has had its share of players move on to play Division I college football. But it’s fair to call Holmes the most decorated recruit of all of them. During the Texan’s historic 2016 10-2 season – the program won its most games in any season and its first playoff game in school history – Holmes caught 83 passes for 1,545 yards, averaged 18.6 yards per reception and 15 touchdowns. The yardage was a single-season school record.
“Gavin is a high-character individual that has an uncommon commitment to be as good as he can be,” Northwest coach Bill Poe said. “He was a record-breaking receiver for us and will do even better things at the next level.”
The previous 10 months have been quite the journey for Holmes. Before he arrived at The Opening regional event in March of last year at Coppell, few really knew who he was. After he turned in a 4.38 40-yard dash, everybody knew who he was.
Offers flooded in from lower Division I programs and Power 5 schools followed. Holmes verbally committed to Duke before changing his commitment to Iowa. While he was born in Iowa, it would keep him away from his family.
“What really stuck out to me when I was talking with [Baylor head coach Matt] Rhule was my two little brothers,” Holmes said. “He told me that they could come see me play and I could be a part of their lives. And seeing how my parents interacted was something that made it click for me. That means everything to me.”
Holmes re-opened in recruiting process. Baylor’s new staff soon offered and immediately had the destination Holmes was looking for. Plus, Holmes had a prior recruiting relationship with Baylor’s new offensive coordinator Matt Lubick, who was at Oregon.
“Baylor is going to run Oregon’s offense,” Holmes said. “There are going to be bubble screens and streak routes ... but the receivers were never asked to block. The route passes are going to be more like NFL routes. They’re going to be more precise.
“Every program I went to, I thought I could see myself playing there. But there was a ‘but’ in there. With Baylor, I never had any of that.”