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Holloman Hopes To Make Early Impact On Special Teams


IRVING, Texas –The Cowboys will be acquiring the services of one angry man when rookies report to minicamp next week.

It's not to say DeVonte Holloman isn't grateful for the opportunity to make an NFL roster – he is. But the former South Carolina linebacker waited a lot longer than he thought he would to hear his name called this past Saturday.

"I'm happy I've got the opportunity to play, but I still have that fire from having to wait," Holloman said. "I was angry because I had heard better projections for myself. I know you can't go off projections, but I had heard I might go in the third or fourth round."

The third round passed by last Friday night without Holloman hearing his name called, as did the fourth round on Saturday morning. 

"The longer I waited, the angrier I got, and I'm going to use that as motivation to give it my best shot," he said.

 His NFL dream wasn't realized until the sixth round, when the Cowboys made him the 185th overall selection with what was the team's seventh pick. At that late point in the game, Holloman said he didn't even have an inkling of what his eventual landing spot would be.

"I had no idea. I had just as much contact with the Cowboys as any other team," he said. "When the third, fourth round came around, I kind of sat up in my seat, and that didn't work out the way I thought. But I'm just grateful to have this opportunity."

With the waiting game out of the way, the Cowboys have to figure out what to do with Holloman. That wasn't something the Gamecocks were always sure about either, as the 6-1 241-pound prospect spent time at both safety and "Spur," which is a hybrid position in South Carolina's scheme.

"It's a hybrid position between safety and linebacker," Holloman said of the Spur spot. "We do a lot of covering on slots and tight ends, so I've done a lot of different things. I still haven't played a true linebacker spot, which might have hurt me, but it's also a bright spot because the coaches can coach me the way they want to more easily." 

What's abundantly clear to Holloman at this early stage is that whatever impact he's going to make will come on special teams. If he can make an impression on coverage teams, only then will defense follow.

"[Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich] Bisacchia called me Monday and told me to make sure I'm working. He wants me to come in flying around and make an impact on special teams," Holloman said. "That's the fastest way for me to make an impact and then focus on defense."

To do that he'll likely want to slim down a little bit from his playing weight in the SEC. Holloman only managed a 4.76 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Improving his speed could help his chances of making it onto the field.

"Coach Bisacchia told me to do whatever I had to do to get back to running the way I was a couple of years ago, which I think was a polite way of telling me to slim it down a little bit," Holloman said. "And I've been doing that, just trying to get back to eating healthy and getting ready." [embedded_ad]

One thing is for certain: Whatever is required of him in Dallas, Holloman said that is his top priority, and he can back it up. South Carolina is holding its spring commencement next weekend in Columbia, where Holloman finished up classes during his final semester.

The senior won't be in attendance for his graduation, as it falls on the same day as rookie minicamp.

"I'd much rather be at rookie minicamp because that work is done now," he said. "This work with the Cowboys is just getting started."

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