Deonte Holden Shines At NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Brett Friedlander

Deonte Holden was something of an afterthought on NC State's defensive line this season, averaging just under 19 snaps over the 11 games in which he played as a reserve defensive end.

Saturday, though, the sixth-year senior -- who earned multiple degrees during his college career and studied abroad in Paris last spring -- got a chance to shine while playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

He was one of two former State players to take part in showcase games for college football seniors over the weekend. Fellow defensive end James Smith-Williams played in the East-West Shrine Bowl in Tampa.

A 6-foot-4, 249-pound native of Landover, Md., Holden recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss in helping his National team to a 30-20 win against the American side at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Holden came up with his biggest play on the opening drive of the second quarter, when on a second-and-five play from the American 30-yard line, the former Wolfpack defender tackled Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke for an eight-yard loss.

He also stuffed Stanford running back Cameron Scarlett for a one-yard loss midway through the third quarter.

Holden had 12 tackles, two sacks and a quarterback pressure for State this season.

His much higher-regarded teammate Smith-Williams had a quiet game at the East-West game at Tropicana Field.

james smith-williams ew game
James Smith-Williams takes down North Texas quarterback Mason Fine during Saturday's East-West Shrine Bowl

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound pass rusher, who had a disappointing senior season while missing five games because of injuries, had one tackle in the game and was called for a facemask penalty on North Texas quarterback Mason Fine.

Smith-Williams did, however, draw rave reviews for his strength and agility during the all-important week of practice leading up to the game. He also earned praise for his work in raising awareness in the "Set the Expectation" movement against sexual violence by wearing special shoes and a ribbon in the organization's colors on his helmet.