When asked who his favorite National Football League player is, DuVal senior outside linebacker Tyree Holmes said it was Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watts.
“He’s unstoppable at defensive end,” said Holmes, whose idol has recorded 9 1/2 sacks through seven games this season and 15 overall in his two professional seasons. “He is energized and he keeps going with intensity. He’s focused on the QB. That’s his job.”
The same could be said for Holmes, whose main responsibility this season has been to rush the quarterback and like Watts, he has caused major havoc in that role.
In fact, Tigers coach Dameon Powell said his 6-foot-1, 215-pound defensive leader has recorded 25.5 sacks with 59 tackles, two fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and two touchdowns heading into Saturday’s 4A South Region playoff game against Suitland (9-1).
“He’s destroying the other side of the ball,” Powell said. “He’s very explosive and he makes very good use of his hands. He runs a 4.6 [second in the 40-yard dash]. He’s been like that ever since he came here. He’s leaning around the end and getting to the quarterback. He’s doesn’t say much besides yes, sir, no, sir. He’s one of those kids coaches always dream of.”
Switching from defensive end to outside linebacker, Holmes had recorded at least two sacks per game with a high of four against Bladensburg (12-10 score) and Suitland (26-6 score), a pair of victories for the Tigers (9-1), who are the No. 2 seed in the 4A South.
“He’s a good, physical kid, who comes off the ball well,” Rams coach Ed Shields said. “I just think he plays really well.”
Holmes said his approach each snap is to “stay focused on the quarterback and anything he does, I follow him. I’m his shadow. I used my speed really and my power to get past the tackle. It’s somewhat the scheme of our defense [the cause of his high number of sacks] but I use mostly my speed, power and agility.”
That combination of ability plus his senior season has drawn looks from a handful of college programs. Holmes, in fact, has an offer from Towson University, a Football Championship Series squad that is ranked 17th in the country. He’s also drawn interest from North Carolina Central, Buffalo (N.Y.) and Connecticut.
Holmes said for now, “I’m keeping my options open.”