Notre Dame football recruiting: WR Holmes hyped about season

South Bend Tribune

Because he plays on such a big stage at St. Thomas Aquinas, it’s easy for Corey Holmes to not notice every single connection his high school team has to college and pro football.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter coaches his position. The second game of his senior season will be played in the Superdome in New Orleans. But the 2014 Notre Dame commitment hadn’t even thought about the significance of playing his season opener Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium – the site of the 2013 BCS National Championship Game and the end of road for the Irish last season.

All of a sudden, the game has a little bit more meaning.

“I've actually never thought of it that way,” Holmes said. “That's crazy.”

Perhaps that’s because Notre Dame football has started to resonate more in Florida. The Irish aren’t just a football team that played a big game in the Sunshine State. Their run to the national championship game turned some heads in one of the nation’s premier high school football states. Some there may start to look at ND as legitimate national title contender for the first time in decades.

“Just based off what I've been hearing, guys are definitely starting to talk about Notre Dame more,” Holmes said. “Notre Dame is definitely the talk down here after last year's season.”

The volume might be louder for Holmes, who verbally committed to Notre Dame in July. Hype around the Irish has been welcome, but the silenced noise surrounding his recruitment has been embraced even more by Holmes. He’s been able to turn his attention to his senior season and another run at a state championship.

Last season, Holmes caught just 28 passes for 511 yards and five touchdowns for the Class 7A state champion Raiders. He shined in the season finale, with an 80-yard touchdown as part of his four-catch, 167-yard performance. On the way to another state championship, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Holmes hopes to surpass more than 1,000 yards receiving as a senior.

“I already made it my goal to break the single season receiving record for my school,” Holmes said, “and prove to my teammates that everything they've heard this offseason – all the hype I've been getting – is true. I'm able to back it up.”

Learning from Carter for a fourth year has paid off for Holmes. The former NFL superstar known for scoring touchdowns has devoted time to improving the wide receivers at St. Thomas Aquinas while continuing to work for ESPN.

"Him being a Hall of Famer, he has all the experience in the world as a wide receiver,” Holmes said. “He teaches everything we have to know to better ourselves at the wide receiver position. It's been great for me to have a guy like that to learn from."

Holmes battled a hamstring injury late in the summer and into fall camp, but completed his first full practice feeling 100 percent on Wednesday.

As usual, the spotlight will follow St. Thomas Aquinas all season long. A game against John Curtis, defending national champion according to, and others, on Sept. 13 in New Orleans will be one of the top high school football games in the country this fall.

“We were all ecstatic when Coach told us we were going to Louisiana to play in the Superdome,” Holmes said. “Just playing in the Superdome, that alone was great. I'm looking more at how they were national champions last year. I'm glad that we're facing the top competition in the country so we all get to showcase what we've got against the best competition out there. That's what I'm excited for."

Corey Holmes