According to multiple Penn State message board posts, CJ Holmes will walk-on for the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2018. Holmes, a former running back for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, was dismissed from the football team in December after an arrest due to shoplifting a North Face coat from a Mishawaka Macy’s.
This decision by Holmes (once made official) should really come as no surprise. We reported back in April that Holmes was looking at Penn State, and could eventually end up in Happy Valley.
Holmes’s sister, Alexis, will be a freshman at Penn State this fall as she signed a letter of intent back in November to run track for the Nittany Lions.
This has been quite a remarkable journey for Holmes. I’m not sure if there was ever a real path for CJ to rejoin the Notre Dame football program, or what real options he had. I do believe that this certainly appears to be a path that isn’t the easiest for the young back from Connecticut.
Instead of transferring to (what I imagine to be) a wide variety of schools to finish his college career, he is transferring to a school that is offering him no free admission. Holmes will walk-on — and although I am unaware of the Penn State scholarship numbers, they did just give a walk-on a scholarship for 2018.
Although this is the harder path (hello out of state tuition) it may very well be the best path for CJ. Perhaps the presence of his family and some different surroundings is what he needs to get his act back together. He is going to have to sit out the 2018 season anyways (due to NCAA transfer rules) so he definitely will have a chance to learn to make better decisions. I’m pretty sure that if he works hard, stays out of trouble, and does what the Penn State staff asks; he’ll earn a scholarship back for next year. Holmes will have 3 years of eligibility remaining — so he has plenty of time to make an impact and become a productive player and better person.
I wish Holmes the best of luck in the future, and rather than say that this should act as a warning for players to stay out of trouble... I hope it serves as a sliver of hope for those that do mess up. The future is what you make it, and you can always make a bad situation better with hard work and determination.