When Deon Hollins Jr. (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall) got his first scholarship offer from Texas Tech before to his junior season, his father encouraged him to wait and keep working hard in the hopes of someday landing a second offer.
Now the junior linebacker/defensive end has 17 offers. Or maybe it’s 18. He’s starting to lose track.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Hollins Jr. said. “I just never believed it would happen to me. I’ve got more offers than I ever really thought I would.”
Several BCS programs have made offers in the past few days, including Texas A&M, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Utah and Colorado.
Hollins Jr. is hoping Texas joins the list on Saturday, when he attends the Longhorns’ second junior day.
“I’ve talked to coach [Oscar] Giles and [Manny] Diaz over Facebook and they sound really excited to see me,” he said. “I went there before for a camp in the summer, but I didn’t get to explore it all. I’d love to see what the whole campus has to offer.”
Diaz has been recruiting Hollins Jr. for the Buck linebacker spot, but Giles has vowed he’ll fight to make the 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior one of his defensive ends.
Hollins Jr. has done his research and understands that, as he put it, Texas has a “loaded” defensive line and likely isn’t taking more than one linebacker for the 2013 class. So does he feel confident he’ll still leave Austin with an offer?
“To be honest, no,” Hollins Jr. said. “I don’t feel totally sure I’ll receive one. But I hope so.”
But he will feel some pressure to make a quick decision if the Longhorn coaches do want him. He felt the same way after his trip to Texas A&M’s junior day this weekend. Hollins Jr. said he was the only Aggie visitor who received an offer and didn’t say yes.
He was impressed by the family vibe he got from the program during his time in College Station, but Hollins Jr. just wasn’t ready to make up his mind.
“I almost pulled the trigger, but my father and I talked about it and it wasn’t what I really wanted,” he said. “Now that I’m going to Texas this weekend, I know exactly what I’m looking for.”
Hollins Jr. isn’t naming any favorites right now, but he entered his recruiting process focused on Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. A handful of out-of-state schools caught his attention by making offers, including Oregon, Arkansas and Stanford.
There’s one more program that, despite the distance factor, has piqued Hollins Jr.’s interest: Washington. He spoke with new defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi on Monday night and has formed a solid bond with the touted recruiter.
“We speak on the phone lots of times,” he said. “I just feel such a close bond to him. Any time I have a question about colleges or anything like that, I feel comfortable with him.”
A year ago, Hollins Jr. didn’t think he’d have it this good. The offers and interest from schools across the country is flattering, but he’s ready to start narrowing down his option soon.
“It’s much more stressful than it is joyful,” he said. “All my other friends, they say they’d cut off their right hand to be in my position. I am in a tremendous position, but I guess it’s not easy.”