With 10 starters returning to a talented DeMatha defense that helped lead the Stags to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game last year, there is certainly no shortage of college offers to go around.

Monday saw the first domino fall as defensive end Deonte Holden committed to N.C. State. The speedy senior chose the Wolfpack among offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, East Carolina, Iowa, Temple, Virginia and Wake Forest.

“I woke up and just had a gut feeling that N.C. State was the school for me,” said Holden, who had initially considered making his decision in August. “I’ve been there twice and I was very comfortable. That was the main thing for me; can I be comfortable here for the next four years?”

Holden said the Wolfpack coaches believe he will fit nicely in a defensive end spot and perhaps compete for a starting role as a freshman. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder knows his size is a concern for some, but both Holden and DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks believe he makes up for it with his motor and speed off the edge.

“He has tremendous upside and is a kid who will probably end up being 6-5, 250 pounds,” Brooks said. “He has elite quickness off the ball; his first step is up there with the best of them. His athleticism and his range are a big reason why colleges were intrigued by him.”

Holden was one of two defensive ends to commit to N.C. State on Monday and one of six total players to commit to first-year Coach Dave Doeren’s program. Along with playing defensive end for DeMatha, Holden will see time at outside linebacker this fall and perhaps at the next level due to his quickness and hands.