Holmes to play football at Illinois

Jordan Holmes is the all-time receiving yards leader at Columbia High School. (Alan Dooley photo)

Columbia High School senior football and basketball standout Jordan Holmes announced Friday night via Twitter that he has committed to play football at the University of Illinois upon his graduation this spring. 

Holmes is the career receiving yards leader at CHS with 2,188 yards. He finished his football career at Columbia with 149 total catches and 22 touchdowns.

The 6-foot-tall Holmes has been offered “preferred walk-on” status with the Illinois football team for his freshman year, which is a guaranteed spot on the roster. There is no financial assistance offered to preferred walk-ons, but scholarships could become available down the road.

“This has been a rollercoaster ride and I couldn’t have made a better decision,” Holmes said. “With that being said, I am happy to announce my full commitment to the University of Illinois!”

Columbia head football coach Scott Horner offered high praise for Holmes and the effort he has put forth on the field for the Eagles over the years.

“Jordan is an extremely talented young man with work ethic and passion and he has earned an opportunity like this,” Horner said. “I have no doubt that he will do everything he possibly can to be the best he can be, and I just have a hunch that he will surprise many people in the future.” 

The Fighting Illini finished with a 2-10 record last season under head coach Lovie Smith, who formerly held head coaching jobs with Chicago and Tampa Bay in the National Football League.

Holmes also attracted college interest for his basketball talents. The point guard currently leads the Eagles in scoring at 17.6 points per game. He averaged 21 points per game last season.

“He is the best player I have coached in my 16 years on the sidelines,” Columbia head basketball coach Mark Sandstrom said earlier this season.

McKendree University expressed interest in Holmes for both basketball and football. Other schools who showed interest in Holmes for football included Truman State and Air Force.

Holmes has a grade point average near 4.0, so the opportunity to receive a quality education at a top-notch academic university such as Illinois played a key role in his decision.

“I want to say thank you to my coaches, teachers and friends for supporting me in everything I have done,” Holmes said. “To the Columbia football program, thank you for pushing me every day and making me be the best student-athlete I could be.”

Jordan’s older brother, Jonathan Holmes, walked on at the University of Arkansas and is a sophomore member of the Razorbacks basketball team.

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