DeVonte Holloman is a former safety-turned-linebacker who has good instincts in coverage and is a developing linebacker with upside.
Holloman has some room to grow as a pass-rusher and run defender, but he offers some excitement when in coverage. He had seven career interceptions and experience at strong safety, which will make him an intriguing option for NFL teams.
It was his experience at safety that brought about some of Holloman’s best plays throughout his time at South Carolina.
Here are the top plays from Holloman’s college career.
As a sophomore, Holloman started at strong safety and made an early impression with a huge hit on Mark Ingram.
Already up big against the top team in the nation, the Gamecocks were looking to put a stop to an Alabama drive that put the Tide in scoring position. It was 3rd-and-1 when Ingram got the ball, and he looked like he would easily run for a first down.
Holloman came up from his safety position and stood up Ingram just short of the first down. He got low on the play and put the star running back in reverse to prevent him from getting the first down.
The play proved that not only was Holloman a good athlete, but a physical player who could lay a hit on one of the best players in the entire nation.
Holloman had probably the easiest sack of his career against the Gators.
At the snap of the ball, the gap between the left tackle and guard opened wide enough for a Mack truck to drive through it. Let’s just say it wasn’t too difficult for Holloman to find his way to the quarterback.
To his credit, he got there quick enough so that the quarterback did not have enough time to hit a receiver or throw the ball away.
The SEC is about physical play on defense, and Holloman showed that he is capable of bringing a big hit.
On an outside toss play, LSU’s running back Spencer Ware was attempting to get to the outside when he saw Holloman coming his way. Like most running backs would do, Ware lowered his head and braced for impact.
Holloman would easily win this battle against Ware as he squared him up and knocked him backward for a short loss on the play. If you listen closely, you can hear the crowd shout “ooh” on the hit.
Holloman played strong safety early in his career but transitioned to the “Spur” position (hybrid linebacker/safety) for his senior year. Though he transitioned to a new position, he did not lose his ability to cover and make plays on pass defense.
Against Kentucky, he dropped into coverage and made an easy interception. While he may not have had the ball come right at him, the fact that Holloman was able to make the play that he was supposed to should count for something. Not every linebacker or defensive back can do that.
Besides making the interception, he was able to help switch the field with his 25-yard return on the play. Return yards can never be underestimated, and Holloman has the instincts to make things happen when the ball is in his hands.
South Carolina brought a heavy blitz with Holloman lined up wide to the right.
Holloman initially showed coverage but blitzed as the ball was snapped. He was initially pushed back out of the play by the left tackle but stuck with it.
With all of the pressure up the middle, Holloman had time to get back into the play and make the sack from behind. He can thank the play design and his teammates for an assist on this sack.
Against one of the traditional powers in the Big Ten, Holloman made his presence felt early with a forced fumble.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner scrambled to the left and tried to juke Holloman. Holloman would have none of it.
He maintained his position and broke down Gardner who then lost his balance, leaving Holloman an opportunity to pounce. He not only wrapped up Gardner to make the tackle, but then went for the strip and jarred the ball loose. Though South Carolina didn’t recover it, it was still an impressive play.
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden was impressed and called Holloman’s technique “an NFL tactic.”
Holloman had seven career interceptions, and three of them came against Clemson.
His most impressive pick against the Tigers came when he was a freshman in 2009. Holloman was deep in coverage and jumped the route to make the interception. But he didn’t stop after making the play on the ball. He returned the ball 54 yards to the 11-yard line.
Holloman made his next interception against Clemson in 2011. He actually looked like a receiver running a deep post route for Clemson’s quarterback, Tajh Boyd. The ball hit him right in stride, and Holloman once again had a big return. This time, he returned it 26 yards deep into Clemson’s territory.
The easiest interception came last season when Boyd was pressured by South Carolina’s defensive front and put up a floater. Holloman tracked it down like a center fielder a deep fly ball and made a diving interception.
Clemson will be one team that is glad to see Holloman leaving South Carolina.
Holloman had three interceptions as a senior, but the one against Georgia was the best.
He began the play lined up wide right on the defensive line to rush the passer. He was already eight yards behind the line of scrimmage when the pass attempt was deflected high into the air.
At the instant the ball was deflected, Holloman located the ball and ran toward it. He dove just in time to make the interception right before the ball hit the ground.
The diving interception by Holloman was one of the most athletic plays that you will see from a football player, let alone a linebacker. He had the awareness to not only react to the deflected pass, but also the speed to get to the ball and the hands to make the interception.
It was one of the more impressive defensive plays that you will see from a college athlete and something to look forward to as he transitions into the NFL.