Jamario Holley was told that South Carolina was taking two wide receivers in the 2019 class.
The Northwestern Trojan standout had an offer for one of those spots and wasn’t about to let it go. He committed to the Gamecocks Friday morning.
“It felt like time was just flying past,” Holley said. “It was my top choice and I knew if committed, it’d hold the spot and then I can just chill and focus on my grades.”
According to the 247sports recruiting web site, Holley is the Gamecocks’ first wide receiver commitment in the 2019 class. The same site ranks Holley the second best 2019 recruit in the state, behind T.L. Hanna’s defensive end, Zacch Pickens.
An electrifying open-field runner, Holley was named Region 4-5A player of the year after finishing the season with 75 catches for 1,178 yards and 18 touchdowns, as well as punt and kickoff return touchdowns. Holley finished his junior season with a surge; in the final six games, he averaged eight catches for 116 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game.
Northwestern coach James Martin thinks Holley’s early commitment will help him keep that momentum going and perform at his best in the coming year.
“It takes some pressure off,” Martin said. “You get pulled by different schools, get text messages or calls and all those things, and you’ve got other people pulling at him one way or the other. I think it helps him control that to a minimum. It’s a decision that he has to make. But now it’s out of the way. He can just focus on his academics the rest of this school year and get ready for the spring and summer, and the season.”
If Holley signs with the Gamecocks, he’d be their first Northwestern Trojan recruit since Gerald Dixon Jr., went to Columbia in 2011.
Holley enjoyed his time at the Gamecocks’ Junior Day in late January, and he appreciated South Carolina coaches consistently stopping by Northwestern to see him throughout the last year’s various recruiting periods. Martin said the coaches tried to normalize interactions with Holley, making the experience feel less like a recruiting transaction.
“Certainly, the attention from all the coaches, not just one coach only,” was a factor, according to Martin. “Coach (Bobby) Bentley recruits our area, but coach (Bryan) McClendon, who’s the new offensive coordinator who was also the wide receivers coach, and then coach (Will) Muschamp all three visiting him, just kind of making his recruiting experience nice for him.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Holley had recently picked up an offer from Arkansas, now coached by former Clemson assistant coach Chad Morris. SECcountry’s Hale McGranahan reported that Arkansas was supposed to visit Holley at Northwestern a few weeks ago, but Razorbacks coaches were unable to make the trip because of snow.