Sometimes, the element of surprise creates an awe-inspiring effect and leaves a greater impression.
That's certainly the case with Class of 2014 defensive end Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) and USC. Trojans assistant coach Tee Martin offered the ESPN Watch List member a scholarship two weeks ago, and Holmes never saw it coming.
"It was amazing," the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Holmes said. "It surprised me. When my coach told me, I was shocked. I thought he was trying to punk me. I mean, this is USC. It's not just any school. I'm way out in Virginia, so this was surprising."
The offer came out of nowhere, in large part because Holmes said there had been no prior contact with USC. His list of offers includes in-state Virginia Tech and Virginia, as well as N.C. State, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Miami (Fla.), Illinois, Clemson and Maryland, among others.
Holmes said he doesn't yet have a list of favorites, but USC is in good shape.
"It's so special because I know about the sanctions," Holmes said. "That they chose to offer me from the other side of the country means a lot. It's special. My plan is to take an official visit out there when I'm a senior next year."
In the meantime, Holmes said he'll continue to reach out to Martin, who has hit the East Coast recruiting trail hard in recent weeks.
"He's a cool dude to talk to," Holmes said. "I've talked to him once, but I'm excited to keep building a relationship."
Holmes joined fellow Watch List members Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy), Denzel Ware (Crestview, Fla./Crestview), Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) as 2014 defensive ends with offers from USC.