Glendale, Calif- Jewel Holman isn’t your average 18-year-old. He isn’t your average football player, your average track star or even your average student. He offers something much more and knocks out all the stereotypes that come with being a millennial.
On nights when he didn’t have football, the senior defensive back took an Uber all the way to Union Station and get on a train that would lead him all the way to his training facility in Riverside. From there, he would workout for two hours before heading back home on the last train at 10 p.m. and the night wasn’t finished. He still had to do his chores and complete his homework which sometimes kept him up past midnight.
After all the grueling workouts, training and raising his grade point average from a 2.2 his freshman year to a 3.2 GPA his senior year, Holman’s hard work finally paid off when he signed his letter of intent to continue is football and academic career at Allen University on Friday.
“Probably the hardest thing about going through all the things I was doing was just trying to stay focused,” Holman said. “There’s a lot going on, traveling far distances and if you don’t get good grades, then at the end of the day, none of this matters. At the end of the day, I can do all things through god and by having support from all my family and friends.”
The spotlight didn’t come naturally for Holman whose dream has been to play college football since he was four years old. He played his freshman year at La Canada but managed only make junior varsity and was told that he was too small.
The discouragement didn’t let his enthusiasm for football wane and transferred to Hoover high school in Glendale. That’s where he met the team’s defensive backs coach Damion Owens.
Owens who played cornerback at Fresno State, took the confident and scrappy sophomore and put him under his wing.
“When he told me ‘ Coach I want to be a DB in college football,’ I told him that I would teach everything he needed to know about DB’s but he needed to take everything I was teaching him and apply to everything he was doing,” Owens said. “When I saw that he started to everything I was teaching him, I kicked him into gear some more, he took my training and that was this scholarship was the end rout.”
In his junior year, Holman career took off. He led the Pacific League in pass deflections (26), forced fumbles (6) and finished second in league with 82 tackles.
“One of the things that helped him was the fact that he was still trying to figure out his body,” Owens said. “He went through a massive growth spurt. His legs became long, his arms became long and he really didn’t know how to control it. He was almost like a project. Once he started to learn how to use this new found length, then football became almost like riding a bicycle.”
Hoover’s football program is going through it’s own growth spurt after finishing last season with only two wins. Owens along with head coach Terrance Jones hope that Holman’s success will be an example to his current and future players.
“I think we are starting to build a personality and we are starting to build our confidence,” Owens said. “Even today the players are asking me when they are going to get our workout in and the culture is starting to change. We wanted our players to see this because our players don’t know what a signing day, a National Letter of Intent day looks like. I had the fortune of having one at my high school and our guys see “Hey, one day this could be me.”
After his college football career is over, Holman said he isn’t even thinking about continuing his career. Instead he wants to become a dentist.
“I get to make 100K making people smile,” Holman said. “It doesn’t get any better then that.”
Written by Ethan Hanson