Posted: 5:42 pm Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Seminole Ridge RB Gary Holmes signs with Florida Tech 

By Jeff Greer

The recruiting season’s biggest drama is over: Seminole Ridge running back Gary Holmes has signed with Florida Tech.

Gary Holmes

Holmes (5-9, 175 pounds, No. 16 on the Big Board) chose the fledgling Division II program at Tech over Delta State in Mississippi, joining Palm Beach Gardens’ two-way lineman Anthony Hicks and former Wellington lineman Austin Peavler in Melbourne.

“He had to pick between them and Delta State and possibly waiting,” Seminole Ridge coach Matt Dickmann said. “But he’s got a great attitude. He’s happy to be able to study engineering there and he can get his master’s there.”

Holmes’ signing ended a long and frustrating recruiting process. He’s widely considered a Division I talent by area coaches and players. He was heavily recruited by Middle Tennessee State, Western Michigan and Bryant, a I-AA program in Rhode Island. By January, Holmes said he’d pick between Middle Tennessee State and Western Michigan. He visited Middle Tennessee’s campus two weeks before national signing day, and wanted to verbally commit to the school.

Then everything blew up.

Western Michigan secured several commitments ahead of Holmes on its big board and withdrew its scholarship offer. A few days before national signing day, Middle Tennessee pulled its offer and said it would not accept Holmes’ commitment. Holmes said MTSU had told him he was the top-rated running back on its recruiting board.

And that’s how one of the area’s most decorated running backs — a two-time Post All-Area first teamer with more than 3,000 yards rushing in two seasons playing in Florida high school football’s largest class — became a free agent once again. Countless schools, Dickmann said, expressed their dismay that Holmes was still available, but they had to honor the players who had committed. As dominoes fell, Holmes was left with three options: Florida Tech, Delta State or waiting out the remaining 45 days of the spring signing period, hoping another school would come calling.

On Wednesday, he pulled the trigger, relieving some stress in Loxahatchee and ending an arduous, lesson-learned recruiting process.

“I’m just happy that Gary’s happy,” Dickmann said.

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