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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Small for a cornerback, KU’s Hollomon plays big

Kansas University sophomore cornerback Brandon Hollomon

Kansas University sophomore cornerback Brandon Hollomon

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In a world where cornerbacks seem to stand higher above 6 feet every year, 5-foot-10 Kansas University sophomore Brandon Hollomon knows his size makes him an obvious target for opposing passers.

He also knows that the only way to make quarterbacks think twice about coming his way is to use his elite speed and quickness to send their completion percentages plummeting.

“Being not the biggest corner, a lot of people try you deep, so you just gotta get used to it and make plays so people stop trying it,” Hollomon said. “You just gotta make yourself known and make sure people see you.”

Just a few months into his Kansas career, the transfer from Pierce College in Los Angeles has done enough to catch the eye of his coaches, particularly assistant defensive backs coach Scott Vestal, who recently backed up a claim made by one of Hollomon’s junior college teammates. Shortly after Hollomon committed to KU, defensive tackle Marquel Combs, who played with the cornerback at Pierce, said the Jayhawks were getting a steal.

So far, Hollomon has done nothing to make his buddy look bad.

“Brandon is a steal,” Vestal said. “People talk about, ‘Well, is he too short?’ It doesn’t bother me. When tall receivers catch the ball, the ball still has to come down and Hollomon always has his hands right there in the pocket. I think he’s been a really, really good addition. And I think he’s gonna play a lot.”

Listed on the August depth chart as a second-team cornerback behind fellow burner JaCorey Shepherd, Hollomon elevated his status throughout fall camp by flashing his air-tight coverage skills.

“He was a reasonably polished kid coming in,” Vestal said. “And he has worked to refine his technique. He works on his technique every day.”

Asked to identify the sophomore’s biggest strengths, Vestal pointed to two things that often bode well for cornerbacks.

“His quickness and his speed,” said Vestal of his pupil who lists Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and current Baltimore Raven Lardarius Webb as two of his favorite cornerbacks. “The ability to flip your hips and change directions on a dime, he does those really well.”

In addition, Hollomon has thrived because of something he encountered often while growing up in Philadelphia — competition.

“Coaches want to play the best players, so if you’re out there making plays you’re gonna find your way on the field somehow,” Hollomon said. “That’s how I think. And I’m never scared of competition. Being from Philly, there’s a lot of competition everywhere. I just came here with my head on straight and I’m ready to make some plays and show ’em what I can do.”

With confidence and natural talent already on Hollomon’s list of pros, Vestal said the next step for the first-year Jayhawk who left Pierce earlier than expected because he was “ready to take the next step,” was to hone his mental approach.

“Once you learn our rules, the way we do things defensively, it opens up the chess board to see really how routes develop,” Vestal said. “For every in, there’s an out; for every over, there’s an under. So as he becomes more comfortable in his role, he’ll be able to see the chess board more.”

Comments

Doug Cramer 1 year, 3 months ago

Got to ask this question...is there something up with Campo ?

Noticed that he's been much quieter interacting with the media compared to last year.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

I heard that he only has a 2 yr contract, but I think it is more a matter of letting the new guys spread their wings.

texashawk10 1 year, 3 months ago

It's not uncommon for assistant coaches to have shorter contracts than head coaches because the turnover rate for assistants is usually higher than it is for head coaches.

Jim Jackson 1 year, 3 months ago

I noticed that too, hope all is good with him; we need him here!

Ryan Shelton 1 year, 3 months ago

He had a lot to say a week or two ago about the spread offense being a form of "cheating."

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

It is nice that he is only a soph. Several JC's have 3 yrs remaining, or like Bolden, 3 to play 2.

10 days

Jim Jackson 1 year, 3 months ago

Is it pretty much confirmed that Slater has gone back to his JUCO?

Brett McCabe 1 year, 3 months ago

A poster yesterday said that he was back at his juco - via twitter. At this point, he'd probably be looking at a redshirt and he'd already be behind in school, so I'm guessing that he's gone for good.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 3 months ago

I haven't seen anything confirmed, but someone found his facebook profile photo was changed back to a juco practice pic, and a former HS teammate commented about him being back. I'm surprised that nobody's talking about it. You'd think that they'd know by now he was back in Juco and they'd announce that he's chosen to leave the program. When is the next Charlie Weis presser?

NebraskaJayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Yeah, this is one of two things:

  1. The family medical emergency was serious enough that he weighed his options and decided it would be best to remain close to home.

  2. The interest and recruiting of Oklahoma was enough to convince him that it was in his best interest to sit out a year and then enroll with the Sooners next season.

Someone that knows the rules tell me if I'm wrong if he wouldn't be able to follow through with 2.

KGphoto 1 year, 3 months ago

Possibility 3. Holsopple scared the mess out of him.

mikehawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Wow! Some talented depth at a key position. Encouraging. We need more of that.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 3 months ago

I am looking forward to some really improved pass defense. Can't wait for the season to start.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 3 months ago

And as far as Slater goes don't think that he is necessarily not interested in KU. A lot can happen this year. If we do as well as I think we will his interest will be sustained I think. He may just go to school this term and not play. He could be back in the spring. Let's hope so. If not, I imagine that we have quite a few more targets out there that are just as talented. If he changes his mind to go to OU that is his mistake. He might just get Belldozed (buried in the depth chart). Hmm. Play at KU or warm the bench at Chokelahoma?

Jim Jackson 1 year, 3 months ago

How do you guys think our Dline will be? I would rather have Combs at LE as opposed to N because I think Stowers is going to have a good year.

Furthermore, I would rather not RS Bolton and have him prepared for mid year as opposed to waiting until next year. We can recruit another talentd D-End out of JUCO.

I personally, am expecting us to go to a bowl at a 6-6 record.

Thoughts? RCJH

Ethan Berger 1 year, 3 months ago

From what I have read so far, we will be running a 4-2-5 (nickel). Which means that we will have a traditional 4 linemen. Our ends will be lining up outside the tackles and gunning for it. Which I don't think Combs is quick enough. He can play next to Stowers on the inside. It won't be a traditional nose, which is good cause neither are big enough. But I could be wrong.

Zstegs 1 year, 3 months ago

They'll either go 3-9 or 7-5. No middle ground. They will either have taken the step up necessary or they won't and a lot falls on the shoulders of a Mr. Jake Heaps. If he and Justin McCay can revive the passing game, the offense will look a lot like the 2010 Chiefs (also a Weis-coached unit) with the best running attack in the country and a lone QB-WR tandem that gets it done in the red zone. On defense, I think they will continue to improve, but it all depends on the progress made by players like Jordan Tavai, Keon Stowers and Kevin Young. I like the addition of Marquel Combs, but I think he will need time to adjust.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

The goal/necessity is 2-deep of Big12 caliber players. The alternative is what we saw last year where teams pull out wins in the end because the 1's are too spent in the end.

A RS for Bolton just spreads out the JC as is necessary to keep from losing more than can be recruited in one year.

Jim Jackson 1 year, 3 months ago

I heard that too but I am under the impression that the Buck will not be in a 3 point stance and will have freedom to movre around.

Furthermore, I am not comfortable with Aghostino starting; he has not been productive at all on the field.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 3 months ago

Hmm, well that should be interesting then.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

The 3 are fixed, with only the buck switching sides.

CW discussed this some months ago, tho I don't have the article ref at the moment.

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