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Penn State's Running Back Room Undergoes a Preseason Change

Caziah Holmes, a 4-star back from the 2020 recruiting class, no longer is with the program.
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Running back Caziah Holmes, who arrived at Penn State in 2020 as a 4-star recruit from Florida, no longer is with the program, a team official confirmed Saturday. 247Sports' Tyler Donohue first reported the news.

Holmes announced Monday that he will enter the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Holmes participated in the open portion of Penn State's practice Wednesday but wasn't on the roster as of Saturday morning. He will have four years of college eligibility remaining, having redshirted in 2021 and acquiring the bonus year because of COVID-19 in 2020.

Holmes, who played at Cocoa High, looked to be a breakout player in 2020, when he ran 51 times for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He saw limited action last season, however, rushing for 27 yards on five carries over three games. Holmes played in just one Big Ten game last season, totaling 15 all-purpose yards against Rutgers.

Holmes faced some injuries at Penn State, which prompted position coach Ja'Juan Seider to say during the offseason that, "it's hard to make the club when you're in the tub."

The emergence of freshman running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen bred significant competition, according to head coach James Franklin. Seider said the freshmen have made the program "tougher."

"What those kids have done for our team, in my opinion, is made us tougher," Seider said. "They made the older guys tougher, they made them compete. The offensive line blocked different. They made our defense tackle different. Because they run with an attitude like they're pissed off on every play, which is what you've got to have to play that position."

The Lions now have four scholarship running backs, with veterans Keyvone Lee and Devyn Ford returning with Singleton and Allen. Seider, who has rotated backs in the past, said recently that "absolutely" the best will play.

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"This isn't the entitlement era," Seider said. "My job is to win. If I'm playing the best player and he isn't helping us win, there's going to be somebody else coaching them. If you're the best player your junior or senior year, then you need to act like it."

Holmes (5-11, 217 pounds) should have multiple opportunities with four years of eligibility remaining. He was a first-team all-state at Cocoa High as a senior, when he rushed for 1,472 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Holmes also has a clothing line through Vintage Brand.

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And consider subscribing (button's on the home page) for more great content across the SI.com network.