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Santonio Holmes
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 192 | Position:WR | College: Ohio State

The cousin of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, Holmes has been a consistent deep threat for the Buckeyes since stepping into the starting lineup during the later stages of his redshirt freshman season. He is a fluid runner with the burst to get to top speed instantly. He began his career as a flanker, but came into his own as a junior after shifting to split end.

Holmes was a three-year starter who helped Glades Central High School to state titles his sophomore and junior years and a 12-1 record his senior season. He had 33 receptions for 970 yards (29.3 avg) and ten touchdowns during his final season. Holmes was named the MVP of the Outback Steakhouse All-Star Game after making five catches for 121 yards and a score. He also played in the California-Florida All-Star Game.

The three-sport star also lettered in basketball and ran track. The track team won the state title his junior year and the basketball team was runner-up his senior season. His 4x400 meter relay team won the state title his junior and senior years.

Holmes committed late to Ohio State in 2002 and the coaching staff decided to redshirt him to allow Holmes time to acclimate to college life. He saw minimal action during the first half of the 2003 campaign before a season-ending injury to Drew Carter forced the staff to insert Holmes at flanker for the final four games. He responded with 32 catches for 549 yards (17.2 avg) and seven touchdowns, adding 30 yards on seven punt returns.

Holmes started every game at flanker in 2004. He led the team with 55 receptions for 769 yards (14.0 avg) and seven touchdowns, earning All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors. He averaged 23.2 yards on eight kickoff returns and 10.7 yards on 20 punt returns with a score. He amassed 1,188 all-purpose yards and recorded a pair of solo tackles.

Holmes collected first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. He shifted to split end and again led the Buckeyes with 977 yards and eleven touchdowns on 53 receptions (18.4 avg). He totaled 141 yards on eleven punt returns (12.8 avg) and 239 yards on eleven kickoff returns (21.7 avg). Holmes also registered 1,357 all-purpose yards per game.

In 36 games at Ohio State, Holmes started 28 times. He finished fifth in school history with 140 receptions for 2,295 yards and third with 25 touchdown grabs. He returned 38 punts for 385 yards (10.1 avg) and a score, adding 19 kickoff returns for 425 yards (22.4 avg). Holmes rushed three times for 18 yards and recorded three solo tackles. He touched the ball 200 times during his career, gaining 3,123 all-purpose yards.


Positives: Has very good balance, timed speed, change of direction agility, second level quickness and explosiveness through the route … Shows good muscle tone and has room on his frame to add more bulk … Quick learner who needs minimal reps to retain … Good worker in all areas (training room, classroom, practices) … Has a very quick release with the shiftiness to avoid and the strong hands to defeat the press … Can separate in an instant and if the defender hesitates, Holmes will immediately change gears and beat his man … Accelerates well out of his breaks to get separation and does a very good job of maintaining that speed throughout his runs … Very athletic turning his body to track the ball and excels at making adjustments to make the low, high, behind, and over-the-shoulder grabs … Tracks the ball in flight well and times his leaps to make the grab at its high point … Has soft, natural hands and very good extension to pluck and snatch away from the frame … His burst lets him eat up the cushion and get on top of the defender before his opponent has a chance to recover … Shows quick stop-and-go action and is the type that can take a short throw, make the initial tackler miss and turn it into a long gain … Scrappy cut blocker who gets into the second level looking for targets to hit (has better strength than his size indicates).

Negatives: Needs to add more bulk to his frame … Tends to lose focus at times, as he tries to turn and run before properly securing the ball, which has led to some fumble problems … Lacks the size to be relied upon for the tough catches in a crowd working in the red zone … Gets frustrated when his moves do not work and can be taken out of his element when facing the more physical cornerbacks (does not like contact running his patterns) … Showed good improvement as a junior, but needs to add some more route running moves.

Holmes has a short but well-built frame with room to add more bulk. He has good lower body and calf muscle definition, split high and long legs. He has valid feet and explosive acceleration, as he consistently gets on top of cornerbacks in one-on-one confrontations in the deep secondary. His speed and flexibility are evident in his ability to escape the press due to his burst off the snap.

Despite his size, Holmes has the functional strength to break some tackles and shows good urgency competing for the ball. He gets in and out of his breaks without having to gear down and once he gets past the line of scrimmage, he quickly eats up the cushion. He generates fluid lateral agility to redirect and shows very good shiftiness to elude.

Earlier in his career, Holmes was disciplined and sharp in his routes, but needed to add some moves and refinement. Since moving to split end, he demonstrates very good set up and body control with quickness out of his breaks. With his explosive separation agility, if the cornerback hesitates, Holmes is capable of changing gear and immediately beating his opponent. He is much more effective stemming and stabbing to set up the defensive back. His body control allows him to settle and break without having to throttle down.

Holmes shows a smooth weave, good leverage, quick transition and acceleration through his speed cuts when running his patterns. He has very good stop-and-go ability and the deep speed to consistently take the ball long distances. He did a much better job of reading coverages and adjusting his runs in 2005 than he did in the past. He carries the route depth and settles instinctively, sliding properly to create lanes.

Holmes's ability to sink his hips and transition quickly lets him accelerate through his cuts and burst away in attempts to get open. He shows good ability to pull and elude on vertical routes. He has excellent deep speed and the ability to maintain it. He maintains balance squeezing through tight spaces and will not flinch or be concerned about taking on punishment to make the catch in a crowd.

Holmes consistently finds the open area when attacking the deep zones. He gets downfield rapidly and can track, adjust and jump to get to the off-target throws. Whether the ball is high, low, behind him or over the shoulder, Holmes has the natural hands to pluck and snatch the ball. He needs to protect the ball with his body better, as he has had a history of costly fumbles whether catching or returning the ball (nine fumbles in 36 games). While Holmes showed improvement in 2005, he did have problems keeping his focus in the past. Most of his misjudgments came on short throws, as he tends to look to run before having the ball secured.

Because of his size, he is not really much of a factor inside the red zone. He has the burst, but will need to add more strength to gain positive yardage after the catch at the next level, but showed better leg drive in 2005. When given a free lane, he will win almost every foot race after the catch. He has the vision and instincts to break free from the crowd and is best when eluding on the move. He has that second gear that allows him to grab the short throw, make the initial tackler miss and turn that catch into a big play.

Holmes is a functional cut blocker with enough strength to handle defensive backs in the second level. He has good hand usage and shows willingness, but does not have the size to be much of a factor in pass protection (bigger defenders can push him into the pocket or run over him). He won't back down though, getting into position and positioning his hands to at least sustain for a few moments when blocking in-line.

Before the 2005 season, Holmes relied more on his pure speed to elude after the catch. He showed great improvement as a route runner in 2005 and better consistency looking the ball in and securing it before turning upfield (only two fumbles as a junior). He has great body control and leaping ability and proved he could turn a short play into a big gain thanks to his valid feet and pure speed. He will still lose focus at times, leading to drops of easy passes, but if you look at his birth certificate, you will see that he still has time to mature mentally and physically.

Career Notes

Ranks fifth in school history with 140 receptions, topped only by David Boston (191, 1996-98), Cris Carter (168, 1984-86), Michael Jenkins (165, 2000-03) and Gary Williams (154, 1979-82) … His 2,295 yards receiving rank behind Jenkins (2,898), Boston (2,855), Williams (2,792) and Carter (2,725) on Ohio State's all-time record list … His 25 touchdown catches are surpassed only by Boston (34) and Carter (27) in school history … Gained 3,123 all-purpose yards, becoming the twelfth Buckeye to gain over 3,000 yards in a career … Had at least two receptions in thirty consecutive games.

2005 Season

All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection … Shifted to split end, staring every game … Led the team with 53 receptions for 977 yards (18.4 avg) and eleven touchdowns … Only David Boston (1,436 in 1998), Terry Glenn (1,411 in 1995), Cris Carter (1,127), Michael Jenkins (1,076) and Dee Miller (981 in 1997) gained more yards receiving in a season for the Buckeyes … His eleven scoring grabs are topped only by Boston (14 in 1997 and 13 in 1998) and Glenn (17 in 1995) on the school's single-season record list … Returned eleven punts for 141 yards (12.8 avg) and eleven kickoffs for 239 yards (21.7 avg) … Scored 66 points and amassed 1,357 all-purpose yards … Gained over 100 yards receiving in the Michigan State, Indiana and Notre Dame (Fiesta Bowl) contests … Fumbled twice, but both were recovered by the Buckeyes … 19 of his receptions were good for 20 yards or longer.

2005 Game Analysis

Miami (Ohio) … Started the season with five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown … Also had an 11-yard punt return … Ohio State took the opening kick and drove 74 yards in 12 plays to score the first points of the game when QB Justin Zwick hit Holmes in the left corner of the north end zone for a 20-yard score … Head to Head Competition -- CB Darrell Hunter.

Texas … Snatched four passes for 73 yards and a score, adding 109 yards on three kickoff returns … QB Troy Smith capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 36-yard scoring strike to Holmes, as the split end beat cornerback Cedric Griffin down the sidelines … Late in the first quarter, Holmes took the ensuing kickoff and raced 47 yards down the west sideline before Ohio State's field position was bolstered by a Longhorn penalty that moved the Buckeyes to the UT 36-yard line, setting up a 45-yard field goal by OSU's Josh Huston … Head to Head Competition -- CB Cedric Griffin.

San Diego State … Made four catches for 42 yards and returned four punts for 55 yards … Head to Head Competition -- CB Terrell Maze.

Iowa … Followed with 95 yards on five grabs, out-leaping cornerback Jovon Johnson to bring down a 46-yard pass from QB Troy Smith … Also had two kickoff returns for 33 yards … Head to Head Competition -- CB Jovon Johnson.

Penn State … Held to four catches for 41 yards … Head to Head Competition -- CB Anwar Phillips.

Michigan State … Caught five passes for a season-high 150 yards and a pair of touch- downs … Broke free from the crowd to haul in a 51-yard scoring pass from Troy Smith that finished a 5-play, 80-yard drive in the first quarter … Smith and Holmes would then connect for a 46-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter … Holmes had problems on special teams, as he fumbled a 54-yard kickoff by Todd Boleski at the OSU 11 in the second quarter and then fumbled a fourth quarter 44-yard punt by Brandon Fields when Holmes returned the ball 26 yards, but lost it when Fields tackled him (OSU recovered when it rolled out of bounds) … Head to Head Competition -- CB Demond Williams.

Indiana … For the only time during his career, Holmes registered back-to-back 100-yard performances … Snatched five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown … After Indiana botched a punt return that OSU recovered, QB Troy Smith struck quickly, hitting Holmes with a 23-yard first quarter touchdown toss … Head to Head Competition -- CB Tracy Porter.

Minnesota … Totaled 94 yards on four receptions with two touchdowns … Troy Smith found Holmes with a 41-yard scoring strike to give the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead with 12:42 to play in the first quarter. The 41-yarder was Holmes's fourth reception this season of more than 40 yards. Two plays earlier in the drive, he had an 8-yard reception … It was the 26th consecutive game for Holmes with at least two catches … His other touchdown catch came in the fourth quarter, when Smith connected with Holmes on a 30-yard throw … Head to Head Competition -- CB Trumaine Banks.

Illinois … Followed with three catches for 59 yards, including two touchdowns … OSU found the end zone with 2:20 to play in the first half when Smith found Holmes down the left sideline for a 41-yard scoring strike. Holmes needed a key block from receiver Ted Ginn, Jr., at about the 5-yard line for the touchdown, his eighth of the year that ended a 9-play, 80-yard drive … Holmes caught a 3-yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 19-0 lead with 11:14 to play in the third quarter, but on the point after try, the snap was bobbled, fumbled and scooped up by Kevin Mitchell at the Illinois 25-yard line. He raced 75 yards for the defensive PAT to make the score 19-2 and break up the shutout bid by the Buckeye defense … Head to Head Competition -- CB Alan Ball.

Northwestern … Picked up 49 yards on three receptions, 35 yards on a kickoff return and 41 yards on three punt returns for 125 all-purpose yards … Head to Head Competition -- CB Deante Battle.

Michigan … Made six catches for 72 yards and a touchdown, but was tackled for a 6-yard loss on a punt return … Holmes caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from QB Troy Smith to pull the Buckeyes within a 21-19 score with 6:40 to play in the game. The scoring grab gave him a touchdown in his seventh game this season … Head to Head Competition -- CB Leon Hall.

Notre Dame (Fiesta Bowl) … Closed out his career with 124 yards and a touchdown on five grabs and 51 yards on three kickoff returns for 175 all-purpose yards … Set a Fiesta Bowl record as he caught a career-long 85-yard scoring bomb from Troy Smith in the second quarter … His 85-yarder broke the previous record of 79 yards by Tennessee's Tee Martin to Peerless Price vs. Florida State in 1999 and Oregon's Joey Harrington to Samie Parker vs. Colorado in 2002 … Head to Head Competition -- CB Mike Richardson.

2004 Season

Second-team All-Big Ten Conference choice … Started all year at flanker, leading the team with a career-high 55 receptions, good for 769 yards (14.0 avg) and seven touchdowns … Rushed twice for 19 yards and scored 48 points … Returned 20 punts for 214 yards (10.7 avg) and a score … Added 186 yards on eight kickoff returns (23.2 avg), finishing with 1,188 all-purpose yards … Gained over 200 yards receiving vs. Marshall … Two of his four fumbles were recovered by the opposition … Eight of his receptions were for 20 yards or longer.

2004 Game Analysis

Cincinnati … Grabbed four passes for 91 yards, finishing an 11-play, 84-yard drive in the fourth quarter by snatching a 23-yard scoring strike from QB Troy Smith.

Marshall … Caught ten passes for a career-high 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns … Had three punt returns for 21 yards, an 18-yard kickoff return and recorded a solo tackle, gaining 263 all-purpose yards … What makes this performance even more impressive was that Holmes missed most of the third quarter after he was shaken up after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Marshall's Craig Chrisholm after Holmes returned a punt 10 yards. Holmes would return to the field for the start of the fourth quarter, but on his first drive back, he turned the ball over on a fumble after safety Dionte' Wilson recovered the ball that was stripped from Holmes by Marshall's Willie Smith at the MU 33 … Holmes accounted for touchdowns of 80 & 47 yards … His 80-yarder was the fourth-longest catch in school history, topped only by Holmes's 85-yarder vs. Notre Dame (2006 Fiesta Bowl), Calvin Murray's 86-yard grab vs. Washington State in 1979 and Terry Glenn's 82-yard snatch vs. Notre Dame in 1995 … His 224-yard performance was the best in Ohio Stadium history and surpassed only by Terry Glenn's 253 yards vs. Pittsburgh in 1995 … His ten catches were his career-best (later tied that mark two weeks later vs. Northwestern).

North Carolina … After his stellar performance the previous game, Holmes was held to two catches for 16 yards, adding four punt returns for 30 yards.

Northwestern … Collected 99 yards on ten grabs and 72 yards on four punt returns, but also fumbled once … Returned one punt 63 yards for a touchdown.

Wisconsin … Had three receptions for 34 yards, three kickoff returns for 81 yards, but fumbled the ball on a 6-yard catch in the second quarter (Holmes recovered the ball) and turned the ball over on a second fumble when he muffed a fourth quarter punt that was recovered by cornerback Scott Starks, setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Badgers' QB John Stocco to Jonathan Orr that sealed a 24-13 win for Wisconsin.

Iowa … Added four catches for 56 yards and three kickoff returns for 68 yards.

Indiana … Picked up 19 yards on a reverse, 22 yards on a punt return and 42 yards on four catches, including a 5-yard score on a toss from Troy Smith that capped a 10-play, 85-yard drive in the first quarter.

Penn State … Limited to 20 yards on two catches and 29 yards on two punt returns.

Michigan State … Caught four passes for 41 yard, returned two punts for 22 yards and had a 19-yard kickoff return.

Purdue … Followed with four receptions for 49 yards, grabbing a 30-yard touchdown strike from Troy Smith that concluded a third quarter 6-play, 66-yard drive.

Michigan … Finished a 10-play, 97-yard drive by hauling in a 12-yard scoring pass from Troy Smith in the third quarter, gaining 50 yards on three snatches.

Oklahoma State (Alamo Bowl) … Made five grabs for 47 yards, returned a punt 8 yards, but was stopped for no gain on a reverse.

2003 Season

Saw mop-up duty most of the season, but took over at flanker for the team's final four games when starter, Drew Carter, was lost for the season with a knee injury … Finished with 32 receptions for 549 yards and a team-high 17.2-yard average, producing seven touchdowns … Carried once for a 1-yard loss, recorded a solo tackle and returned seven punts for 30 yards … Had nine catches for 20 yards or longer, but also turned the ball over three times on fumbles.

2003 Game Analysis

Washington … Holmes' collegiate debut got off to a rough start … He had an 8-yard catch and two punt returns for 4 yards, but turned the ball over when he fumbled a punt in the fourth quarter that Washington's Scott White recovered.

North Carolina State … Added a 29-yard reception and two punt returns for 12 yards, but again coughed the ball up on a fumble in a repeat of the season opener. In the fourth quarter, Holmes muffed a punt return and dropped the ball. State's Jericho Cotchery recovered it, setting up a drive that Cotchery capped when he caught a 9-yard scoring pass from QB Philip Rivers.

Bowling Green … Sat out the next game, as the coaches tried to give him time to regain his focus.

Indiana … Came off the bench to haul in six passes for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns, adding 6 yards on a punt return … His first career touchdown came on a 15-yard toss from QB Craig Krenzel in the second quarter … That followed with a 47-yard scoring grab of a throw by Scott McMullen in the fourth quarter.

Penn State … Snared five passes for 78 yards.

Michigan State … In his first career start, Holmes caught a pair of passes for 51 yards and a 37-yard touchdown on a second quarter throw from Craig Krenzel … Also recorded a solo tackle.

Purdue … Followed with six receptions for 57 yards.

Michigan … Beat All-American cornerback Marlin Jackson for touchdowns of 8 & 13 yards, finishing with 121 yards on eight catches in the season finale.

Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl) … Made touchdown catches of 6 & 31 yards, but was tackled for a 1-yard loss on a reverse.

2002 Season

Redhirted as a freshman, performing on the scout team.

Injury Report

2004: Sat out most of the third quarter vs. Marshall (9/11) after getting shaken up by a helmet-to-helmet hit on a punt return, but returned to action at the start of the fourth quarter.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.45 in the 40-yard dash … 315-pound bench press … 475-pound squat … 305-pound power clean … 37-inch vertical jump … 32-inch arm length … 9 5/8-inch hands.

High School

Attended Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Willie Bueno … Three-year starter who helped Glades Central to state titles his sophomore and junior years and a 12-1 record his senior campaign … Had 33 receptions for 970 yards (29.3 avg) and ten touchdowns during his final season … Named the MVP of the Outback Steakhouse All-Star Game, after making five catches for 121 yards and a score … Also played in the California-Florida All-Star Game … The three-sport star also lettered in track and basketball … The track team won the state title his junior year and the basketball team was runner-up his senior season … His 4x400 meter relay team won the state title his junior and senior years.


General Studies major … Single, has two sons: Santonio III and Nicori … Son of Patricia Brown and Santonio Holmes, Sr … Second cousin of Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro running back Fred Taylor … Born 3/03/84 … Resides in Belle Glade, Florida.