Although Briar Woods wide receiver Melvin Holland Jr. said he wasn’t overwhelmed by all the attention he’s gotten over the last two months, the senior standout admits he was ready to dedicate more time to focusing on his offseason training regimen.
After a visit to Wake Forest last weekend the honorable mention All-Met chose to join the Big Ten conference and orally commit to the University of Minnesota. He announced his decision at home Monday alongside his family, University of Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill and running backs coach Brian Anderson. Holland chose the Golden Gophers over offers from Wisconsin, Rutgers and Wake Forest.
Holland visited the Twin Cities campus the weekend of Jan. 17 where he took in a hockey game. He also spent time with Golden Gophers senior running back Donnell Kirkwood who spoke to him about adjusting to the school.
“It’s a great school, and the main thing that drew me was the coaching staff and family feeling,” Holland said in a Monday phone interview. “They recruited me well, and when I spent time with them, they treated me like one of their own.”
Anderson extended the offer to Holland after watching him during a Dec. 5 practice. He had stumbled across Holland’s highlight tape while researching prospects in the area.
After catching just two passes as a junior in 2012, Holland wrapped up his final season in Ashburn with school records for single-season receptions (64), receiving touchdowns (17), receiving yards in a game (199) and receiving yards in a season (1032).
In the Falcons’ postseason run to a fourth straight state title game, Holland hauled in 31 passes for 542 yards and 31 touchdowns, which helped his Football Bowl Subdivision offers grow from one in November to six. Holland also earned a four-star ranking by ESPN.
“I feel very blessed, because not a lot of kids can say they are playing in the Big Ten,” Holland said. “I am just thankful for everything my mom, my dad and my family has done for me.”
Holland is the fourth Briar Woods player off the 2013 team to orally commit to an FBS or Football Championship Subdivision school. Trace McSorley (Penn State), Jared Coker (Richmond) and Nick Merletti (Harvard) committed earlier this year.
The 6-foot-3 wide receiver plans to study sports medicine at Minnesota, which launched its sports medicine program last year.
He steps into a Golden Gophers program where two of the top three receptions leaders were freshman. He said he has dropped to 13 pounds, to 182, since season’s end and wants to add more muscle before moving to the next level.
“Everybody there is on the same page and has the same goals to get better,” Holland said. “They all want to grow as a team and the fans have great support. There aren’t many teams with fans like theirs.”