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Chargers’ Holmes changes mind, picks Duke

BY NATHAN WARTERS

Chancellor High School football standout Chris Holmes decommitted from N.C. State this past weekend and pledged to Duke instead.

The Blue Devils hadn’t offered Holmes a scholarship when he initially committed to the Wolfpack in July, but they jumped into the picture after Tom O’Brien was fired as N.C. State’s coach Nov. 25. As he got more acquainted with Duke, Holmes realized he found a better match a little farther down Tobacco Road.

“I had a better bond with the coaches and the players at Duke,” said Holmes, a standout wide receiver and defensive back for the Chargers.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Holmes joins former Chancellor teammate Sam Marshall, a defensive tackle who just finished up his redshirt freshman season with the Blue Devils.

“That helped me too, because he told me a lot about the school,” said Holmes, who took an official visit to Duke earlier this month.

Holmes, also a basketball standout for the Chargers, said he liked that the Blue Devils are on the rise under fifth-year head coach David Cutcliffe. They just finished up their most successful season in 18 years, finishing 6–7 and making their first postseason appearance since 1994 in a Belk Bowl loss to Cincinnati.

“It’s a team that’s on the turnaround. I liked that,” said Holmes, who expects to play safety for Duke. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

Changing his commitment was a difficult decision for Holmes. He told The Free Lance–Star earlier this month that he was still planning to play at N.C. State after new Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren informed him the school would honor his scholarship.

But after careful consideration, Holmes decided Duke was a better fit for him. Feb. 6 is the first day seniors can sign binding national letters of intent.

“I took a lot of consideration into it,” said Holmes, who was recruited primarily by Blue Devils assistant coach Zac Roper. “I thought about it a lot, and I just felt it had to be done.”

Chancellor assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Chris Lam said Holmes approached the process carefully. He went to Raleigh to meet with Doeren and weighed all his options before deciding on Duke.

“It’s a difficult situation for a 17-year-old kid,” Lam said. “You commit to one school and a coaching staff and then everything gets turned upside down. It’s a tough one, most definitely. I don’t think people realize how stressful recruiting can be.”

Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442

nwarters@freelancestar.com

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