Still stinging from a 48-34 loss to Cincinnati in last week’s Belk Bowl, Duke found something to soften the blow on the first day of 2013 when it received a verbal commitment from Chancellor High School’s Chris Holmes. He did not initially receive a scholarship offer from the Blue Devils before committing to N.C. State last July, but Duke was able to jump into the recruiting picture for Holmes after the Wolfpack fired head coach Tom O’Brien Nov. 25 following a 7-5 regular season.
Holmes initially held a slew of scholarship offers from some of college football’s top programs, including Clemson, Michigan, South Carolina and West Virginia.
A Spotsylvania, Va. native, Holmes has starred for Chancellor at both wide receiver and defensive back. At 6-foot-2 and 187 pounds, Holmes boasts breakaway speed, running his 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds according to Rivals.com, who considers Holmes to be a three-star recruit. Holmes will likely focus on the defensive side of the football at Duke, a team that allowed nearly 50 points per game while finishing the season on a five-game losing skid. Blue Devil fans will likely see their new recruit lining up at safety, a position at which Duke was decimated due to injuries and off-the-field issues this season.
Despite Duke’s defensive difficulties to end its 6-7 campaign, Holmes said in an interview with The Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star that he was encouraged by the team’s first postseason appearance since 1994 under the leadership of ACC Coach of the Year David Cutcliffe.
“It’s a team that’s on the turnaround. I liked that,” said Holmes. “I wanted to be a part of that.”