South Carolina linebacker DeVonte Holloman has set his sights on a professional football career. Holloman will update GoGamecocks twice a month on his journey to the NFL and the April draft.
Holloman will take part Saturday in the 88th annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. That game kicks off at 4 p.m. on the NFL Network. Holloman is part of the West team, while USC teammates T.J. Johnson and Devin Taylor will represent the East squad.
He’s doing the bulk of his training in Dallas, Texas, but will return to Columbia in late March for South Carolina’s pro timing day. This year’s NFL Draft is April 25-27.
Holloman (6-2, 240) played strong safety and spur at USC. He had 207 career tackles, 15 for loss, seven interceptions and three forced fumbles. He graduated from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill.
Talk about what it means to play in the East-West game.
It’s a big honor. I’m playing with a lot of good people. You can see the competition level pick up, even from playing in the SEC. Everybody is good around here. It’s another step and an honor.
What role does the game play in your goal of being drafted by an NFL team?
Just getting to be seen by scouts and talking with them face to face. It lets them get to know me and who I am off the field. And they get to see me practicing as well.
How do you get to interact with scouts?
They can pull you aside before or after at the hotel. They’re hanging around. I get to talk to them every now and then.
Talk about getting to play one more game with T.J. Johnson and Devin Taylor.
They’re actually on the opposite team. I ended up on the West team for some reason. So I get to play against them. It had to do with evening the teams out. But the teams really don’t matter. This is one time when it’s really about you. It’s a time to interview for the NFL. That’s how everyone is treating it around here.
Is this the start of your preparations, or did that start right after the Outback Bowl?
The day after the Outback Bowl, I flew to Dallas, Texas. That’s where I’m training.
How did playing at USC prepare you for these next few months?
Just playing with good coaches and learning different schemes and the terminology. The playing experience and playing in the SEC helped me going forward.
What’s next after the game?
I go back to Dallas on Sunday and start training again, working on my 40, bench press and all that combine stuff.
Is it a big goal to get an invite to the NFL Combine?
Yes. I’m still waiting on that. We’ll know for sure in about a week. There are no guarantees.
Did you grow up rooting for any particular NFL team?
I’m an Eagles fan, but it doesn’t matter. I’m a fan of everybody right now.
– Compiled by Dwayne McLemore