The NFL Draft has come and gone, and DB Shaquill Griffin was the lone UCF Knight to hear his name called. Elsewhere, Justin Holman waited for a phone call that never came.
As of this writing, Holman is an undrafted free agent. That much was expected. But that doesn’t mean Holman should not get a shot at the NFL somewhere. After all, he’s a 6-4 quarterback with a Howitzer for an arm and two conference title rings, including one he won as a starter, You remember that, right?
Certainly a guy with an arm like that, decent speed, and plenty of starting experience under his belt might be an intriguing project for an intrepid quarterback coach to bring along. But if Holman does get a shot, he’ll have some advantages, but also more than a few serious hurdles to overcome.
The arm. Man, he can rip it. We saw this in the Penn State game in ireland, when he came off the bench and started launching lasers through the Nittany Lions’ secondary:
George O’Leary called him “Nolan Ryan,” because he constantly threw fastballs and he wanted Holman to occasionally thorw a change-up when the situation warranted it.
The size. 6-4, 225 pounds. The prototypical pocket passer, and with good foot speed to boot. Some sculptor from the Great Beyond chiseled him out of Georgia granite and said, “Go forth and play quarterback.”
The attitude. For all the failures he endured in his final two years, I never once heard him complain about his role. Even when things went bad, he was never up nor down.
Consider the up, after a win over BYU:
And consider the down, during the Nightmare of 2015.
Scott Frost on multiple occasions praised both Holman’s ability and attitude, which, given the situation he was in as a senior, deserves to count for something.
Inconsistency. Holman somehow didn’t start the 2015 season, and Pete DiNovo got the nod in Ireland for exactly one half, likely due to lackluster performance in practice leading up to the game. Look at his game log from 2014 and you’ll see a pattern:
For every up, there was a down. And that didn’t get any better in 2015, with virtually no offensive line and no running game.
Regression. From the promise of 2014 to, well, look for yourself:
That’s not encouraging if you’re a scout who looks at more than just the highlight film. But if you also don’t do your homework, those numbers don’t do Holman justice, thanks to a slew of injuries and no wins in 2015, and a new coach running a system that did not exactly fit his style in 2016. He lost his job, and unceremoniously finished his UCF career performing mop-up duty for a true freshman in a blowout bowl loss.
The Last Word
Most often, it was feast or famine for Holman at UCF. But for all his inconsistency, the one thing Justin Holman had throughout his time was talent. And the NFL will find talent – at least for Holman’s sake, let’s hope so.
Reportedly the Atlanta Falcons, Holman’s hometown team (he’s from Stone Mountain and went to Stephenson High), gave Holman a look along with several other local players in a pre-draft workout. Jacksonville is also rumored to have shown interest. But to date, no bites.
[Side note: I couldn’t find Holman on social media to check whether there was any news on him either. That he isn’t active on social might be a good thing in itself.]
Holman told the Sentinel in 2014 that he planned to become a doctor after an NFL career. By all accounts, he’s an excellent student, and a medical career after football should certainly be in the offing.
I’m not saying Holman is the next Tom Brady by any means (Brady famously couldn’t keep his college starting QB job, although he did finish his career as Michigan’s starter and won his final bowl game). But like we said, some enterprising NFL QB coach would behoove himself to give Holman a shot, delay his future medical career a bit, and perhaps spend a year or two polishing a diamond in the rough to see what he’s made of. If Holman is just as committed to his success as the right coach would be, he might be a valuable asset indeed.