3. Darnay Holmes (Defensive Back, Sophomore)
Darnay Holmes will quite possibly be one of UCLA’s most exciting players this season. He led the team with 3 interceptions as a true freshman. Holmes, who was a highly-touted 5-star recruit out of high school, is equipped with great instincts, lateral quickness, and rarely gets called for pass interference. He hopefully will improve upon his consistency as he gave up 185 yards and 2 TDs against Memphis WR and NFL 2nd-round selection Anthony Miller. However, Holmes can be credited for holding 2nd-round selection and former Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk (71 receptions, 919 yards, 10 TDs) to just 5 catches for 60 yards for 0 TDs which is extremely impressive for a true freshman as Kirk was widely considered a top-5 WR in the country. He also held USC’s playmaker WR Deontay Burnett (86 receptions 1,114 yards, 9 TDs) to 4 catches for 56 yards and 0 TDs so he has proven he is capable of keeping impact wide receivers in check. Holmes’s starting experience (11 starts) will help on UCLA’s defense this season and will also continue as a dynamic return man on special teams. We can reasonably expect Holmes to grow into a lockdown cornerback through the season and solidify his status as one of UCLA’s best players.