South Carolina linebacker DeVonte Holloman has set his sights on a professional football career. This is the third in a series of updates from Holloman on his journey to the NFL and the April draft.
Holloman returned to South Carolina for the school’s pro day on March 27 and will complete his pre-draft training in Charlotte, N.C., near his home.
He recently trained for the NFL Combine and pro day in Dallas, Texas, at the Athletes’ Performance training center there.
Holloman, who ran a 4.76 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, ran a 4.79 at USC’s pro day. He took part in the linebacker drills in Columbia did not participate in most of the other testing, letting his results at the combine stand.
Holloman (6-2, 245) 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.
This year’s NFL Draft is April 25-27.
What did you think you accomplished the most at pro day?
I did good on my drills, didn’t drop any passes and showed that I’ve got good hips and feet still. Playing safety they knew I had good hips and feet, showing that I can move at this size probably helped myself a little bit.
What about your position at the next level – linebacker or safety?
I’ll play wherever anybody gets me a chance to play. You can’t be picky on the next level. You’ve just got to get in wherever you fit in. That’s what I'm going to do.
Why run the 40 again at pro day?
I was happy with my time at the Combine. I just thought I could do a little bit better.
What was something crazy you can share about the NFL Combine experience?
It was just weird that you don’t really get much sleep. They keep you up all night meeting and then you’re up the next morning on the go. It was amazing that even the coaches had energy to see the next day. (In three days in Indianapolis, Holloman estimated he got about 12 hours of sleep.)
Were you more or less nervous for pro day as compared with the Combine?
A lot more rested than nervous. It was still the same nerves but my body felt good coming in. I hope I put on a good show.
After being at the Combine, what kind of opportunity was pro day for you?
It’s another opportunity to help yourself. You don’t get many opportunities, so you have to take advantage of the ones you get. It’s all one big test. Even this. Every time you shake someone’s hand, it’s a test. Every time you walk by somebody they’re looking at you. You always have to be on your Ps and Qs and be ready for anything.
How has the process as a whole been?
It’s been great. It’s stressful, but to know in the end that you might be playing on an NFL roster or get a chance to play is great. It pushes you through a lot of things that you thought you wouldn’t make it through.
Did Stephon Gilmore walk you through the process of what to expect?
He was always available if I needed advice. We didn’t bother each too much during this past season. Once the season calmed down he gave me some good advice.
Talk about having Marcus Lattimore back for pro day.
Marcus is always a hard worker and is positive. For him to go through the things he went through, for him to come out smiling shows you a lot about him. He always surprises you. You think about him getting hurt just a couple months ago and he’s already back doing drills. He probably could have done some running back drills but he didn’t want to push it. Just to see him move again made me feel good and happy for him.
How nice was it to be back with your teammates for one more workout at Williams-Brice?
We’re still a team. We’ll always be a team. We pushed each other and encouraged each other to do our best. We still had a team feel even though we know we are going our separate ways.
What is some of the best advice folks have given you about this process?
Control what you can control. You have to be confident in yourself. Don’t let the whole process psyche you out.
Have you talked to specific NFL teams yet?
I’ve been talking to a couple teams but you can’t make too much of it. Talking to past guys they got drafted by teams they never even spoke to. You never know.
What is most challenging thing about all this?
The whole training process and not really playing actual football, having to do 40 training and shuttle training day in and day out. It made me miss football a lot. I can’t wait until I find out where I’m going and put on some pads and play football again.
-- Compiled by Dwayne McLemore
Holloman at the NFL Combine
Measurements: 6-foot-1, 243 pounds, 32 1/2-inch arms, 10-inch hands
40-yard dash: 4.76 seconds
Bench press (225 pounds): 15 reps
Vertical jump: 33 inches
Broad jump: 113 inches
3-cone drill: 7.30 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.26 seconds
NFL.com draft grade: 70.5
Josh Norris, NFL Draft analyst for Rotoworld.com, says: “I thought he was going to run better, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. That just means he plays at that speed or faster. I really like him as a prospect. He could work his way up to a productive player.”