Flint Carmen Ainsworth running back Gerald Holmes became the first Michigan State football commitment for the class of 2013 when he declared his allegiance to the green and white early last month.Â Spartan Nation caught up with the new addition the family.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After a tough ankle injury last year which kept him out of more than half the 2011 season, Holmes felt great about the Spartansâ€™ continued interest in him despite other teamsâ€™ decisions to pull back and wait to see how his healing process played out.
â€œIt meant a lot,â€ he says, â€œespecially from a major D1 school fresh off a huge bowl game.Â They couldâ€™ve gotten almost anyone any place in the world if they wanted to, but they came to me and saw what I can do.Â I feel that confidence will continue throughout my career now that Iâ€™m a Spartan.â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Holmes cites his leadership ability as one of his most important qualities and says he plans to use it to try to recruit other players to his class of Spartans commitments. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
â€œTo me, being a leader means being someone who doesnâ€™t really care what other people say when it comes to stepping up and having the mindset that whether youâ€™re carrying five or 500 people behind you, youâ€™re always up front and whoeverâ€™s following can know that theyâ€™re following a good person.â€
He has his father to thank for his development as such a strong person off the field, as they helped each other through the loss of their mother and wife when Gerald was just five years old.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œHeâ€™s been a good man for years,â€ he says of his dad, â€œbeing there for me and taking me to church on Sundays.Â My dad is a good leader, and I look up to him in everything I do, because heâ€™s a hard worker. Â I step back almost every day, look up and thank God tremendously that I have a good dad.â€
Holmes says his father also helped instill a competitive nature in him.
â€œAny time someone has told me I couldnâ€™t do something it has just made me want to prove them wrong, because Iâ€™ve always known I can do anything I want to.â€
This desire to prove people wrong has also been a factor in his decision to make academics a priority.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œGrowing up people always would say â€˜oh heâ€™s a good athlete, heâ€™s just going to go to the pros,â€™â€ he says, â€œbut outside of that I want to actually make something of my life in the books, which is an area that a lot of people in Flint struggle with.Â Schoolâ€™s actually the most important thing.Â A degree is going to mean that all the hard work growing up was worth it.Â Itâ€™s going to mean a lot to be able to wear two hats by both playing football well and also getting my degree.â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In addition to embracing the role of the newest â€œFlintstoneâ€ in a Spartan uniform, Holmes says he is already ready to embrace the state rivalry.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œIâ€™ll be in a restaurant, and people will look at me and try to say â€˜go blue!â€™ and Iâ€™m just like â€˜no sorry, this time Iâ€™m going green!â€™â€