Dec. 1, 2011
Work Hard and Good Things Happen
By Jacob Neal, Media Relations Student Assistant
"No matter what happens, I can say I was part of a nationally ranked team," said Lamar Holmes, the senior left tackle for the Golden Eagles. "I just love being part of a team and working together to achieve something great."
This is the attitude that Holmes has towards everything in his life. He believes if you work hard and do your part, good things will come to you. This attitude does not just come out of the blue though, Holmes has experienced it for himself.
The 6-foot-6, 333 lbs., left tackle for the Eagles went to high school at Huss High in Gastonia, North Carolina. "I mostly played basketball. Since I was little, that's all I did. It wasn't until my older brother, Devon, started playing football that I got into it," said Holmes. "I kept playing basketball throughout school until my eleventh grade year when my dad made me stop because I kept getting hurt playing. That's when I started to focus on football."
Holmes credits his years on the hardwood with his nimbleness today. "If anything, it made me better," he said. "The footwork in basketball is so fast and precise, and it has kind of helped me with my footwork on the line. Footwork is really important going up against those defensive lines."
After high school, Holmes attended Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., to improve his appeal to a major university and football program.
"Coming out of high school, I knew that my grades would hinder me a little bit from going straight to a Division 1 school so I went to junior college."
It was here that Holmes honed his mantra.
"Playing for a junior college, you have to work so hard for the little that you get," he said. "I think in the two years I was there we only won three games, maybe? Playing there really taught me to increase my work ethic and work not just for me but for the team."
Coming out of Itawamba, where he was a NJCAA All-American, Holmes was a highly touted junior college prospect with numerous Division 1 colleges calling his card daily.
"What helped me decide to come play for Southern Miss was the tradition of winning that they have here," recounted Holmes. "I really wanted to be a part of a program like that."
After Holmes made his decision to come to Southern Miss, his parents could not have been more supportive.
"When I finally told my parents, Anthony and Harriet Holmes, that I had decided to come to school here at Southern Miss, they just up and moved down here," recounts Holmes. "That type of support has been incredibly important in my time here.
"When I went to Itawamba, my mom just dropped me off and left. So to have them moving down here was a big change. If they hadn't have done that though, I'd probably be in a much different spot. With my parents and my little brother, Tony, being down here, it is such a help when I need to get through something."
Another big change for Holmes came with the start of his first season at the University.
"In high school and junior college, I always played right tackle. I was right handed and had grown up going from that side, but when I got here I had to start completely over by switching to the other side," said Holmes. "It felt completely different even though the idea of the position is the same. I just had to get used to the new stances and stuff."
Even with the changes, Holmes did not take his new assignment of guarding quarterback Austin Davis' blindside lightly.
"I'm on his blindside now, and it's my responsibility to make sure nothing happens to that guy. I'll put my body on the line and everything."
Guarding Davis' blindside is not the only thing he takes pride in.
"I love watching (Tracey Lampley) run, and I love watching (Jamal Woodyard) and (Kendrick Hardy) run. As part of the offensive line you're like, `We did this. We let the guy get in the open field and just watch him go.' Plus, getting down there in the end zone with them and celebrating, there isn't anything better. You get to hear the crowd screaming. It's great - I love it."
The story of student-athletes who truly enjoy being a part of a team is often untold in today's world of collegiate athletics. In a world where few are stars and where many are overlooked, Lamar Holmes plays his part. One touchdown run and pancake block at a time.