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Des Holmes Saw Bigger Picture When Committing to Arizona State

Holmes never doubted ASU was a strong place for him.

TEMPE -- Sun Devils transfer right tackle Des Holmes is very much an east-coast guy. 

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Holmes stayed home and played in 32 career games at Penn State before deciding to use his last year of eligibility elsewhere. 

Holmes' final destination couldn't have been more opposite of his original stomping grounds, as the dry heat of Arizona State awaited his presence after committing to the Sun Devils on Jan. 19.

Holmes has only been out west once in his life. His freshman season at Penn State, the team played in the Fiesta Bowl. 

Now, at least for the last year of his college career, Holmes will call Arizona home.

"It's good to get out here. (Tempe is) a whole different type of climate and just the ability to come over here and see how another program works and operates and manages time is definitely interesting to see. I think it's pretty cool to acclimate to some better weather and (I've had) some fun times out there with the guys," said Holmes.

"Really the pleasant surprise is the weather because around this time we'd be indoor all the time back at Penn State so it's just nice to actually be outside and enjoy some good weather around here."

Holmes may regret the pleasant weather comment when triple digits become the norm here in the summer, but the decision to play at Arizona State has always had the green light in his mind thanks to smooth talking from ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

"When I first entered the portal, trying to find a new home and talking business with Herm and he was saying everything I wanted to hear," Holmes said. "To be honest with you, other places I talked to, they really had great things to say. I feel like me and Herm just were were really on the same page and honestly that's what brought me here."

Now, Holmes finds himself as Arizona State's starting right tackle through the early stages of spring practice. 

He said, "I think this is an awesome scheme. I love how much we run the ball here. When I think about my play, I like being aggressive. I like being physical. I like technique. So when it comes down to running the ball, I think especially as an offensive lineman, you got to take pride in that. That's our bread and butter.

"Obviously I love protecting the quarterback at the end of the day, but when you're really just able to get after a guy you got to love that playing offensive line."

Holmes is not the only addition via the transfer portal on the offensive line, as right guard Chris Martinez also joined the Sun Devils after starting 14 games last season for San Diego State. 

Holmes and Martinez have been able to build a bond over being newcomers to ASU, playing on the right side of the line together and they also happen to share a living space together.

"He's my roommate, we talk together every day . . .  Being able to talk with Chris about what they do here, and how do you do this, what our combinations could because he's right next to me, he's a right guard. As long as we can talk, communicate and be on the same page, that's what offensive line play is about," Holmes said. 

After redshirting his freshman season in 2017, Holmes never truly blossomed to the heights he believed he was capable of. Holmes offers a unique veteran perspective for younger players across the offensive line despite still settling his own feet at Arizona State.

"I try to take my experiences from where I've been," he said. "All the trials and tribulations and everything I've learned and just being around all the great football coaches I've been around, I'm just trying to take all my experience and just put it on the young guys because I know how it is being a younger guy coming in and just the way your mindset might be or the way you might work. It's just always great to have a older guy just be on you a little bit." 

Having a seasoned presence capable of correcting and ultimately improving your performance is not lost on any profession, especially in the world of football. 

For the Sun Devils, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh is that presence for Holmes.

"Coach Cavanaugh is a big technique dude and I think a dude that's in his last year like me and doing what I'm trying to do, help the team out and then obviously further my career (benefits from that)," said Holmes.

"Just working with a guy like him and helping my technique out, that's going to be the best for my career. I definitely appreciate it and I see how he works with other guys and I see how hard we work, and I love it for our room."

Cavanaugh has prior experience getting transfer players in the trenches to the next level, as the latest example was former tackle Kellen Diesch, who figures to be selected at some point in the upcoming NFL draft. 

When asked if Arizona State used Diesch as a recruiting tool, Holmes admitted ASU indeed brought Diesch up in conversation. It turned out to be music to his ears. 

"They absolutely did," he said. "When I came in here they told me about his situation at Texas A&M and how he came here and he played here a couple years. Obviously now he's doing his thing, he's in a blessed situation doing the Combine (and) just had the Pro Day. He has a bright future coming up.

"So that was a part of the car deal, the car salesman deal Herm tried to pitch that to me. It's something that helped (me) get here right now."