As a child, Brian Holloway was always too, big or too heavy to play in football little leagues. Now, his size, 6 feet 6 and 270 pounds, is advantageous for Holloway, a Stanford University senior from Potomac's Churchill High School.
He can press more than 430 pounds. He can run 40 yards in 4.8 seconds. He commands genuine attention from pro scouts.
The Redskins paid his way home Easter weekend for a physical examination. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Holloway is not expected to be available when Washington makes the 20th pick in Tuesday's first round of the NFL draft.
With increased emphasis on the passing attack in the NFL, many scouts feel he has had ideal training on Stanford teams that threw 60 to 70 percent of the time. He will be among the first offensive interior linemen selected.
Holloway's jocular, easygoing manner off the field belies his fierce competitive spirit on it. His coaches at Stanford told him he could be in a class by himself. "I didn't start playing that way until I believed it myself," he said.
He does't believe he has reached his potential.
"Right now, I'm learning what the game is all about," he said. "Many players learned the basics in peewee leagues. I never had that opportunity because I was too big and too heavy, and too young to play with the older fellows.
"So, I'm still learning the fundamentals. A lot of players, by this time in their career, have played 14 years of football. Now I'm getting to start my seventh season. The pros will be a transition. However, I can hold my own with any college lineman in the country. I think that's why my career looks bright."
Monte Clark, then an assistant coach at Stanford and now coach of the Detroit Lions, decided Holloway would be an offensive lineman in the first week of his freshman season.
San Francisco 49er Coach Bill Walsh and Holloway formed a special relationship when Walsh coached him at Stanford. There, Walsh asked Clark to watch Holloway practice. All the lineman were rotating between offense and defense.
"I could hold my own getting by people on defense, but when we rotated and I was on offense blocking, they had a tough time getting by me," Holloway said. "Clark said, 'Hey this guy is a natural offensive lineman. Switch him now. Don't delay one minute.' So Walsh called me in and asked me about it.
"I said, 'Coach, I just want to play. I want to be the best ballplayer I can be. It doesn't matter what position.' So he switched me. To this day I'm grateful. He told me I could be a great defensive lineman. But he promised me that I could be an all-American as an offensive tackle. That was a hell of an insight for someone to have four years ago."
Walsh characterizes Holloway as "dedicated, intelligent, and hard-working -- one of the brightest, most articulate men I've ever met. Not only will he be a great pro, he will be highly successful in life."
Holloway, a thoughtful man, exudes confidence in his ability and future. He will graduate in June with a 3.0 grade average and a degree in economics. Law school may have to wait.
"You can't go wrong with a player like Brian," said Gil Brandt of the Dallas Cowboys. "He has everything you need in a football player: excellent speed, intelligence, good size and athletic ability. He has great future potential."
Mike Allman, director of pro scouting for the Redskins, thinks Holloway "could play 15 years. He has the pass techniques we're looking for."
Holloway began developing midway through his junior year at Churchill and became a varsity starter the last half of the season. In 1976 Holloway was a standout when Churchill won a state football title. In track, he threw the discus and broke the school record in the shot put. Holloway, then 6-6 and 250, an the 40 in 4.9.
Walsh's prediction for Holloway became reality this past season when he was selected all-America by Pro Football Weekly, Kodak and the Sporting News. One of Holloway's most prized possessions is a game ball from Stanford's 48-34 victory over Washington State on Oct. 25.
The ball originally was given to Cardinal running back Darrin Nelson who ran for 202 yards on 21 carries and caught 11 passes for 167 yards that day, for which he was named Sports Illustrated back of the week. Nelson gave the game ball to Holloway at the Stanford football banquet.
With his busy schedule this spring, Holloway has not had much time to devote to shot put. Stanford Track Coach Brooks Johnson, formerly coach at St. Albans, nevertheless is grateful for his input. "Every time he's thrown this spring it's been his personal best," Johnson noted.
Johnson sees Holloway as "a multifaceted individual, without any of the racial hangups and scars you find among many black athletes. The Holloways put to rest all stereotypes of black family life. . . They're a tight, stable unit with each member having varied interests at which they excel."
Holloway's mother teaches at Westbrook Elemenary in Bethesda.His sister, Karen, is an honor student in engineering at Stanford. His father, Wendell, lobbies for Ford Motor Co. Brother Jonathan, an eighth-grader is a sprinter. He will play the flute at the Kennedy Center next week.
"Now that's a big deal," big brother said.