Sept. 5, 2000
By Jacob Barker Sports Information Graduate Assistant The Citadel Game Program – September 2, 2000
With a nickname like “Hollywood” you might expect to find senior Jason Holloman starring in movies or in a TV sitcom. With Death Valley as his stage, however, Holloman can be seen starring on the gridiron as a starting defensive tackle for the Clemson football team. With such a flashy nickname, Holloman’s business-like approach to football and his laid back personality off the field may surprise you.
It was during Holloman’s freshman season at Clemson that his defensive coaches recognized his star potential and labeled him with the name “Hollywood.” It is a name that has stuck with Holloman over his career at Clemson both on and off the football field. Holloman chuckled as he recalled the first time he realized the name was with him to stay. “During my first day of classes at Clemson, the professors would ask me what I wanted to be called and all the other students in the class would yell out that my name was ‘Hollywood.’ Ever since then everyone on campus, including my professors, have called me ‘Hollywood.'”
According to defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, Holloman’s playing style can be characterized not as flashy but rather as steady and consistent. In fact, it has been Holloman’s strength and steadiness on the defensive front over his career that has most earned the respect of his coaches.
“The best way to describe Jason Holloman is that he has been very, very solid over his career,” stated Herring. “In fact, he has been one of our most steady and consistent performers year in and year out since he has been at Clemson. His solid play and his steadiness are aspects that are greatly appreciated by the whole coaching staff.”
With All-Americans Robert Carswell on his side of the ball, many people often overlook Holloman’s importance to the Clemson defense. During his career, Holloman has become accustomed to making big plays in big games and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. His big play ability is evident by the fact that coming into the 2000 season he ranks 10th in Clemson history in caused fumbles with five. “Over my career I have just tried to play each game as hard as I possibly can. You can’t relax on any play because you never know how important that play may end up being in the final outcome of the game,” Holloman said.
Holloman attended Lakeside High School in Atlanta, GA where, during his senior season, he was named Most Valuable Player in the county and was selected to play in the Georgia/Florida all-star game in Orlando, FL. While at Lakeside, he excelled not only on the defensive side of the ball but on offense as well. During his freshman season, while playing offensive tackle, he was named Lakeside’s most valuable offensive linemen.
He credits the time he spent on offense in high school for better preparing him to play defense at the college level.
“I think I have a big advantage now because I have played on offense before,” Holloman stated. “I know many offensive schemes and what the offensive linemen are thinking.”
In 1996, when it came time for him to choose a college, several other schools besides Clemson showed great interest in the versatile Holloman. In the end though, it was two of Clemson’s most well known trademarks that were the deciding factors in Holloman’s decision to become a Tiger.
“Growing up I always loved the color orange and I knew that I either wanted to go to Miami or Clemson. When I came to Clemson on my official visit I saw Lake Hartwell and it was then that I knew this was where I wanted to be,” remembered Holloman.
During his sophomore season at Clemson, Holloman was probably the most productive player off the bench on Clemson’s 25th-ranked defense. Even without starting a game, he led the Tigers in caused fumbles with three. He also registered four sacks that season, including two against sixth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee.
Last year as a junior, Holloman started every game for a Clemson defense that led the ACC in sacks. He was second to Terry Jolly in tackles among Clemson’s front four linemen, and for the second straight year he tallied four sacks. Against North Carolina, with the score tied at 17-17 in the third quarter, Holloman showed his athletic ability by making a diving interception of a Ronald Curry pass. After that play, Clemson never looked back against the Tar Heels. On their very next possession, the Tigers took the ball 29 yards on five plays to score the go-ahead touchdown. With Holloman’s big play as the catalyst, Clemson went on to a 31-20 over the Heels.
“I remember during the Virginia game a week earlier that Terry Jolly and I collided as we were both diving for an interception. So against North Carolina when I had a chance to make the interception I dove for the ball and closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes again I was just hoping that I still had the ball,” Holloman recalled.
Just as Herring described Holloman as a steady, rather than a flashy, player, his favorite hobbies outside of football could also be considered anything but flashy. He is a huge NASCAR fan and in 1996, as part of the weekly pregame festivities of the Georgia/Florida high school all-star game, Holloman and his teammates had a chance to attend the Daytona 500. “I am a big Jeff Gordon fan, so getting to go to Daytona was a great thrill and something that I really enjoyed,” said Holloman.
Even though his interest in racing began while he was in high school, it wasn’t until he got to Clemson that Holloman’s ‘good ole boy’ personality really began to take shape.
“When I first got to Clemson, Corey Hulsey (former Tiger offensive guard) was my roommate and he was big into hunting and fishing. After I went deer hunting with him a couple of times, I was hooked. I love fishing too, but the biggest fish I have ever caught is a two-and-a-half pound bass in Lake Hartwell,” laughed Holloman.
In addition to his love for the outdoors, Holloman spends much of his spare time giving back to the Clemson community. He was selected by his peers to be a member of an organization of Clemson football players chosen to represent their team as Leaders in Football and Education (LIFE Line). The program was started in 1996 and throughout the school year members are involved in community outreach projects with organizations such as Helping Hands of Clemson and Habitat for Humanity.
“When I first got to Clemson, the LIFE Line program was just starting and I really looked up to all the guys that were a part of the program. I never thought I would get the chance to be in the program, so I was honored when I was chosen to be a member.” As a member of LIFE Line, Holloman has welcomed the challenges that accompany its membership.
“It is a pleasure to be a part of such a program because it stands for leadership and that means that you are expected to set a good example for the other players on the team.”
With the start of the 2000 season today against The Citadel, Holloman is hoping that a successful senior campaign will propel him into a future in the NFL. With his agility and his versatility, that dream could very well become reality. In fact, his versatility may just land him on the offensive side of the ball again one day.
“I am shooting for the NFL and Coach Bowden is always telling me to aim high,” said Holloman. “I think I have the size to play defensive tackle at the next level, but I need to work everyday on my quickness. Several people have also told me, though, that I could also possibly play on the offensive line at the next level.”
While the possibility of playing in the NFL excites Holloman, his work in the classroom and with LIFE Line has prepared him for life after football. Holloman is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in human resources and he plans to approach the job market just as he has approached opposing running backs: head on.
“If the NFL doesn’t work out then at least I know I will have my degree from Clemson. I know Clemson has close ties with companies like BMW and Lucent Technologies, so hopefully I will be able to return home and work for one of those companies someday.”
Even with all of his success at Clemson, Holloman has not lost site of the people he says are responsible for getting him to where he is today. His parents, Joseph and Melissa Holloman, his younger brother Jonathan, and his older brother Byron have each played integral parts in his development as not only as a football player but also as a person. Byron, played football at Tennessee State while Jonathan is going to attend South Carolina State this fall.
“We are a very spiritual family and my parents have always told me to just do the best that I can with whatever I do in my life. They are constantly reminding me that education is the most important thing in my life and that anything having to do with football is secondary,” recalled Holloman.
Aside from the guidance and support of his family, Holloman is also grateful for the physical tools he has inherited from his father. “My dad has big legs and has always been very strong. My size and leg strength is a gift that I have received from my dad. I know there are tons of people out there who would love to be in my position so I have always tried to work really hard to develop the size and strength I have been blessed with,” said Holloman.
Those physical gifts and his work ethic are never more evident than while watching Holloman in the weight room. Overall he is one of Clemson’s strongest players and his 617 pound squat lift is fifth-best on the team.
Over his career at Clemson, Jason Holloman has made a name for himself by letting his actions speak for themselves. That’s why, if you ever have a chance to spend time with him you might find it ironic that such a normal, down-to-earth guy would have a nickname like “Hollywood.” While you probably won’t see “Hollywood” starring in a TV sitcom next year, don’t be at all surprised to see him starring on Sunday afternoons and to hear NFL announcers around the league calling him by the flashy nickname that has stuck with him ever since his arrival at Clemson.
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