This past week I was in East Rutherford, New Jersey as a participant in the Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop for college students. One of the events that we got to partake in was New York Giants training camp. We got to meet Brian Daboll, watch the Giants practice and interview a player. The bigger names like Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones weren’t available, but I didn’t care — I just wanted to interview former Buckeye Jalyn Holmes, and that’s exactly what I got to do.
Holmes is currently in his fifth season in the NFL after being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 and playing with them for three seasons, and spent last year with the New Orleans Saints. Now, he is looking for a fresh start as a Giant.
One of the first things the defensive end had to adjust to was switching from a 4-3 defense, which he played in Minnesota and New Orleans, to a 3-4 defense. However, he said it hasn’t been too big of a learning curve and he has actually always wanted to play in this type of defense, as he thinks his body type and skill set fits well within it. But, having some help from his kids didn’t hurt.
“When I first got here it was mayhem,” Holmes said. “After getting repetitions in and, during the break we had, I studied with the kids in the backyard. I had my [nine-year-old stepdaughter] be the tackle, [two] sons, all that. So once you get to walk through it and learn the concepts it’s not too difficult.”
That backyard he mentioned is in Westerville, Ohio, which is about 25 minutes away from Ohio State’s campus, as Holmes lives there during the offseason. He is still very much connected to Ohio State, and spends a lot of time using the facilities and getting to know the team.
“I live in Columbus, Ohio,” Holmes said. “I’m there everyday with the team, I’m around a lot. That new defensive coordinator [Jim Knowles] I like him a lot. He’s really good. I still workout there everyday. That’s where I do all of my training at.”
When I asked Holmes about his prediction for this season’s Ohio State team, he had some lofty beliefs about how far the Buckeyes would go. He thinks they should definitely be a playoff team, and has a good chance of competing in the national championship. However, he mentioned that it is pivotal that they defeat TTUN first.
Speaking of the Buckeyes’ rival, I asked if he ever goes back and forth with the Wolverines that are on the Giants’ roster. There are currently three Michigan players, including guard Ben Bredeson, defensive lineman Christopher Hinton and defensive back Jarrod Wilson.
“I really can’t say too much because they just beat us, but I mean it’s about time,” Holmes said with a laugh. “It’s about time they showed up.”
As for the highly anticipated matchup against Notre Dame on Sept. 3, Holmes had a bold prediction — he believes that the Buckeyes are going to beat down on the Fighting Irish pretty well. Maybe he read my bold prediction from a few weeks ago?
As for Holmes’ reasoning to become a Giant, the switch to a 3-4 defense was just one of his motives for coming to New York. A former coach, along with an up-and-coming team inspired him to make the move.
“Dre, Coach Patterson,” Holmes said. “He was my defensive line coach in Minnesota. He’s the one who drafted me. He always saw the potential in me. He always got the best out of me. So, playing with him again was definitely a reason why I chose New York. It’s also a good opportunity. Good young team, good head coach. Once again, Dre, he’s similar to Coach [Larry] Johnson at Ohio State. They know how to get the best out of their players.”
The five-year veteran, although still trying to find his footing on the team, is also looking to be a leader to the younger guys on the team, just like he was at Ohio State, as he was a captain his senior year.
“I feel like I can add some experience to the young guys coming up,” Holmes said. “I’m there for the rookies that’s in our room that need any type of leadership or any type of guidance, because I have seen a lot in these five years being in the league.”
Holmes seems to be really happy with where he's at in a new defense, with an old coach, surrounded by guys who are hungry for success. Yet through it all, he doesn’t forget his roots as a Buckeye. How can you not root for this guy?