Saturday, June 22, 2013

Special night for UConn commit

Before Sha'ki Holines recorded his first high tackle he longed to play in the Chowder Bowl which annually pits graduating seniors from Central Massachusetts against those from the western part of the state.

Well, the UConn signee didn't waste much time making an impact as he made a crushing hit behind the line of scrimmage on the first play of last night's game in Leominster, Mass.

On the first series the 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end who will arrive at UConn on Tuesday, had two tackles for loss and a quarterback pressure. By my count he finished with six tackles (three behind the line of scrimmage) and a pair of quarterback pressures.

"I was dreaming about that since last night," Holines said after the game. "I couldn’t wait to get out here. I have been dreaming about playing in this game since I was a freshman, I have been watching it every year and I finally got my chance to play in it and it was over."

Perhaps Holines' most impressive play came when he rushed the passer from his right defensive end position. He was double teamed and when the play went away from him, it looked as if he would just have to get ready for the next play. Holines had other ideas. While the two Central Mass. players blocking him gave up on the play, Holines raced across the field and was able to be one of a host of players to force the runner out of bounds. Although he did not get credited a tackle on the play, the relentlessness he displayed certainly caught my attention.

"I like to play with a high motor so I never take myself out of a play, keep it going all the time and never give up," Holines said..

Holines originally committed to UMass but once he saw the UConn facilities and was offered a scholarship he made the decision to decommit from UMass and become a Husky.

"Once I saw the facility I feel in love with that and I felt that was probably the way to get me out and go to the next level," Holines said

"We have some good defensive players coming in, good quarterbacks and hopefully we can get some good recruits in next year so hopefully we can win the (American Athletic) conference championship.

"I think this group, with a couple of years together can by junior year, sophomore year we can make some things happen."

Holines couldn't have picked a better way to wrap up his high school career. Not only did the Western Massacusetts team end a nine-year losing streak to the Central Mass. squad but his team posted a shutout in a 13-0 win.

"It was a big victory, we didn’t get one of these in probably in 10 years and to end my season with one was like getting a Super Bowl," Holines said.

Holines also played another 20 plays as a blocking tight end and threw a key block leading to the first touchdown but he said the UConn staff views him as a defensive end. He would love to follow in the footsteps of E.J. Norris, who earned plenty of playing time at defensive end as a true freshman at UConn in 2012.

"When I get there in the summer I am going to work out, use the facility to my best advantage to try to get as good as I can be so I can play my freshman year," Holines said.


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