Avery Holley on double duty
Avery Holley on double duty
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Ready for double duty Immediate playing time as a freshman and the opportunity to play football and basketball attracted Avery Holley to Florida Atlantic University.
BY BOB EMANUEL JR.
Avery Holley was quiet during the recruiting process, never allowing his potential choice to become public knowledge.
On national signing day in February, Holley's decision was one of the most anticipated announcements in Broward County.
But the former Pompano Beach Ely High star kept everyone in suspense for an extra day, choosing to spend a final 24 hours to make a choice, he said, between Florida Atlantic and Miami.
The next day, the receiver chose FAU.
''I was basically just weighing my options,'' said Holley, who is expected to become the first athlete to play football and basketball for the Owls. ``I wanted to make sure the decision I make will [make me happy] for the next five years. I want to be stable. I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.''
Holley, 6-0 and 150 pounds, also was recruited by Akron, North Carolina State and Mississippi. FAU got the nod over the Hurricanes because of what Holley perceived to be uncertainty with Miami's coaching staff and the stability afforded by FAU's Howard Schnellenberger.
''When FAU came into the picture, their program was on the rise, both academically and athletically,'' Holley said. ``It gives me an opportunity to start something that's on the rise.''
Holley, predominantly a receiver in high school, added starting duty at cornerback in his senior season. At FAU, Holley is working exclusively on offense.
''Corner was pretty fun for me,'' Holley said. ``When you're with the defense, and everybody is flying around, that's pretty fun. But there [is] nothing like scoring six. Scoring six says it all.''
Holley has a chance to play as a freshman, particularly with Casey McGahee, the team's top returning receiver, out because of a knee injury through, at the least, the early part of the season.
With McGahee out, Florida Atlantic returns just one of its top five leaders in receptions – projected starter Frantz Simeon.
''That was another reason I came to the university,'' Holley said. ``Casey McGahee is a great receiver. He's actually my mentor. He's one of the older, veteran receivers. He's helping me get through the playbook. Every time I come out to practice, he's always on my hip, making sure I'm doing the right thing. We have a pretty decent receiving corps this year. We should be all right.''
Holley, who was used to the transition from football to basketball at Ely, was looking forward for the chance to play under Schnellenberger and basketball coach Matt Doherty. But Doherty left the school after the basketball season and was replaced by his lead assistant, Rex Walters.
''[Schnellenberger and Doherty] was a great combo, but Rex Walters is a great coach, also,'' Holley said. ``He played in the NBA for a couple of years, and he has a lot of knowledge for the game. He's actually the guy who recruited me when he was under Matt Doherty, letting me know he was interested first. It'll be great.''