Westfield has developed a reputation for producing high-caliber defensive lineman over the past years with the likes of Buffalo Bills tackle Ed Oliver and North Carolina State tackle Nick Booker-Brown as alums.
Now it is 3-year lettermen senior A.J. Holmes’ turn to make a name for himself in his 2021-22 high school season finale before taking his talents to the University of Virginia.
Holmes is a 6’2” 285 lbs. disruptive, high-motor playmaker and natural born leader. This was evident in Westfield’s recent 27-21 upset victory over No. 4 ranked Galena Park North Shore at Planet Ford Stadium. Despite Holmes only finishing the game with just a few sacks, his fingerprints were seen throughout the game when it came to tackles for loss, quarterback pressures, and most importantly team morale throughout a back-and-forth playoff atmosphere showdown.
When Spring Westfield head coach Matt Meekins was asked about his senior leader, Meekins stated,
“He leads by example, number one, and since his sophomore year he has had a lot of good role models in front of him to learn from and he has taken it to another level for us as far as work ethic.”
“He is a great verbal leader, but in football you can’t just be a verbal leader because no one will listen to you until you lead by example. And that is a testament to him.”
The Defender spoke with Holmes after the victory over North Shore to discuss his playing style, leadership, the North Shore upset and what that “W” does for Westfield football moving forward this season.
Holmes: “Very disruptive. I can do anything on the D-line. I can play as a defensive end and play on the inside. I can do anything.”
Keys to Success
Holmes: “First and foremost I want to thank my coaches, my parents and God. And I say thank God because he blessed me with experience learning from the older guys that helped make me who I am.”
North Shore Upset
Holmes: “The keys to success were discipline, sticking together as one and not getting down on each other or backing down when somebody messed up. We kept going and fighting until the end. We knew it was going to be a heavyweight battle, so we just kept fighting.”
Holmes: “This game boosted us, but at the same time we need to have the same mentality ‘Kill everybody.’ We don’t need to become too cocky, because in the past years I think we may have gotten too cocky too early and I won’t let these guys.”
About A.J. Holmes
Players He Studies: Ed Oliver, Aaron Donald and Nick Booker-Brown
Favorite Food: Rotel Dip
Other Offers: University of Colorado, Duke University and University of Houston
World Problem He Would Solve: Police Brutality
Shoutouts: “My parents, coaches, little league coaches and everybody that supports me.”