Arizona Wildcats Class of 2016 target Holt “still pretty open” about recruitment

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Salpointe Catholic defensive tackle Justin Holt takes a break from his workouts at the Rivals Camp Series in Las Vegas (Photo by Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Salpointe Catholic Class of 2016 defensive tackle Justin Holt takes up a lot of territory at 6’2″ and 265 pounds, big enough for Arizona’s football program to stake claim to him as a prized recruit in its backyard.

Rich Rodriguez and his staff know of other Pac-12 programs invading their territory — Holt, son of former Arizona defensive tackle/linebacker Julius Holt. Chief among those trying to talk Justin Holt out of staying in Tucson are the mighty Ducks.

“Oregon visited me a month ago and they came again two weeks ago, so that shows they are serious about me if they come to visit me twice,” Holt told me today after he went through the drills at the Rivals.com Camp Series at Las Vegas’ Clark High School.

The younger Holt, who is trying to keep an open mind during the recruiting process, said a trip to Oregon is a possibility before fall camp starts for Salpointe.

“I might attend Oregon’s camp during the summer,” said Holt, whose offseason will include a trip next month to Los Angeles to participate in the Nike Football Opening Regionals.

“One of my goals is try to get a couple of more (scholarship) offers,” Holt said. “I’m just going to work as hard as I can and see what happens. My main goal is to get more lean. Those are my top priorities heading into the spring.”

Arizona remains a major player in the Holt sweepstakes. In fact, his recruitment may be more of an opportunity to see what other program is strong enough to sway him from the Wildcats.

“I mean, the U of A is definitely up there on my list,” he said. “They treat me wonderfully. They really take care of me. They are up there on the list, but it’s still open.”

Holt added that he has no timetable to make his decision.

“I’m just going to commit when I feel it’s right, and I feel like the school is best for me,” he said. “I’m going to let it come naturally.”

Holt looked like a natural among the 209 prospects that convened Sunday at Clark High School for the Rivals.com Camp Series.

Rated a three-star talent by Rivals, Holt was in the same group as other standouts. The group included Long Beach (Calif.) St. Anthony defensive end Logan Gamble, whose first scholarship offer was from Rodriguez last week.

Holt’s offseason camp tour started last month in San Antonio in the USA All-American Combine.

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Justin Holt, right, takes part in one-on-one drills in the Rivals.com Camp Series in Las Vegas (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Justin Holt, right, takes part in one-on-one drills in the Rivals.com Camp Series in Las Vegas (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


Justin Holt, with "66" showing on his shirt, gets in a stance against the tackling dummy (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Justin Holt, with “66” showing on his shirt, gets in a stance against the tackling dummy (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“I thought I could have done a lot better in the one-on-ones compared to San Antonio and what I did up there,” he said, “but the competition was a lot better here. I think I still did pretty good. But there is always room for improvement.”

By taking part in the camps, Holt is not only improving his stock among those who evaluate recruits — he could elevate himself to four-star status or better — he is also gaining a competitive edge against those he will play against with Salpointe this fall.

“I learned a lot things today with my technique that will help my game improve individually,” Holt said. “You get to compete with the best, because the best are up here, so when you get to compete against the best, it makes you better.

“That’s what I can take away into next season.”

Arizona hopes to experience the fruits of Holt’s labor and improvement, but so does Oregon and other Pac-12 schools. The territorial fight for Holt is well underway.


Justin Holt holds his ground in another one-on-one drill (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Justin Holt, No. 966, holds his ground in another one-on-one drill (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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