An echo rings throughout Ladd Peebles Stadium as Darnay Holmes yells in frustration. The UCLA cornerback is visibly upset after losing his most recent Senior Bowl rep Wednesday, one of a rare few this week.
Known for his aggressiveness and strong competitiveness, Holmes walked back in line and tried to settle his mind before another play. He regained his composure, and the defensive prospect batted down an out route on his very next rep — bouncing back in incredible fashion.
After a relatively disappointing 2019 season, it’s this bounce-back mentality that has helped skyrocket Holmes’ draft stock. His insane talent, natural fluidity and legitimate 4.3 speed certainly haven’t hurt; but Holmes' commitment to a philosophical change in mindset has also played a huge role.
When I asked him about what he’s been doing outside of football, his answer helped explain the important shift. No, Holmes’ didn’t say his hobbies include playing video games or watching Netflix. Instead, he detailed his passion for practicing mindfulness, an ever-growing concept that focuses on living in the moment.
“[I’ve been] reading books, tapping into yoga and tapping into meditation”, Holmes explained.
“I want to make sure I’m a well-rounded person, [because] I feel like if you’re a well-rounded person you can tap into many different avenues and be successful. I’m aggressive, I’m coachable, able to adapt on the run and I want to be able to go out there and just live in the moment [and] do what I can do to provide for [my] team.”
Holmes’ work focusing on the present and keeping a selective memory has particularly helped in Mobile, Alabama, given the heavily scrutinized nature of the Senior Bowl. Every one-on-one rep is analyzed to a sickening degree, and the expectations created are often hard to achieve. Still, Holmes has found a way to stick out amongst the crowd (in a good way), taking the event by storm and looking like his 2018 self.
After struggles last season the return to greatness is a welcome sight as Holmes’ swagger (and play) are taking the all-star event by storm.
“I’ve had ups and downs, mistakes, [and I just need to work on] having a level mind and staying even-keeled,” Holmes said when asked where he needed to improve coming into the week.
It’s safe to say he’s done just that, potentially earning himself a big paycheck in the process. For Holmes, his pre-draft rise doesn’t just end in Mobile. The combine is roughly a month away and Holmes — an elite athlete since high school — is expected to dominate.
When I asked what his blazing 40-yard dash time might look like at the event, he smiled, claiming the information was “undisclosed” but that we would find out soon enough.
“When the time comes, it’ll be shown,” he said.
After all, there’s no reason to look ahead when you can live in the moment.