Razorback’s memorable career started as walk-on

Vincent Burton/Contributing Writer Published June 8, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Price Holmes III of Batesville turned down a number of scholarship offers from smaller colleges after graduating from Batesville High School in 2009 to achieve his lifelong dream of being a Razorback football player. Holmes earned a scholarship at the University of Arkansas after beginning his career as a walk-on.

BATESVILLE — Price Holmes III’s childhood dream was to be a Razorback, and thanks to hard work and persistence, that dream has yielded multiple opportunities for the walk-on kid from northeast Arkansas.

After graduating from Batesville High School in 2009, Holmes turned down a number of scholarships from smaller colleges to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Razorback football player. Now he will spend more time at the University of Arkansas after accepting a position on the strength coaching staff.

“It was such an honor to earn a scholarship at the U of A after beginning my career as a walk-on,’’ Holmes said. “The journey of walking on was a long and very trying process. I had to leave Batesville less than two weeks after graduation and start summer workouts, trying to make the team. From that point on, for the next five years, I wouldn’t spend more than a couple of weeks at home.”

Hard work was something that was instilled in Holmes from a young age. Both his parents were outstanding athletes at Newport High School in the late ’70s. Holmes excelled in every sport he participated in, earning all-region in baseball as a freshman in Newport and placing ninth in a grueling decathlon as a senior.

He was a starter on specialty teams while in college, playing numerous positions during the course of his career, along with redshirting one year. When coach Bret Bielema took over the programs, Holmes’ role changed again, moving to the defensive side of the ball. He was one of a handful of players who played for three head coaches in different positions.

“Obviously, walking on added a new element of toughness to the college football experience,” Holmes said. “As a walk-on, you start at the absolute bottom of the totem pole in every aspect of the game. However, this journey I went on had a much sweeter ending, simply because I began my career as a walk-on.

“I went from just trying to make the team to earning a scholarship, to becoming the only player on the team to start on all special teams, and to eventually starting games against Mississippi State and Louisiana State University my senior year.

‘’I’m not a prideful person and wouldn’t have had any success without God leading me along the way. But looking back on my career at Arkansas and the many ups and downs I experienced, I’m proud of myself for walking on, earning a scholarship, and making a name for myself for the Razorbacks. It’s an experience that I will never forget, and I believe it helped make me a better person.”

When it came to academics, Holmes was also successful at the U of A. He was named to the chancellor’s list for two semesters and graduated with a degree in kinesiology/pre-professional with an emphasis in exercise science.

Holmes lettered two years and played in every game his junior and senior years. He was a finalist for the Brandon Burlsworth award, a national award given to the most outstanding college football player who began his career as a walk-on. However, Holmes is quick to admit that the first time he ran through “the A” for a game, it gave him chills.

“Growing up, I could have told you almost every single player’s name — where they were from, what jersey number they wore and what position they played,” Holmes said. “Those guys that suited up with the red helmets and the white Hog on the sides were some of my role models. I absolutely adored those guys. And when I would see them run out of the A, I always dreamed about having that opportunity.

“So when I was able to run through the A in front of 70,000-plus screaming fans for the first time, I was beyond excited because I knew somewhere in the crowd, or at home watching on TV, was a little kid just like I had been, watching his or her role models. There are moments along the journey of playing college football that leave a lasting memory, and that is definitely one of those moments.”

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