After suffering a leg injury that kept him out of the 2014 football season, redshirt sophomore Tyre'oune Holmes is looking to show that he is fully recovered this fall. Holmes, the #25 player in the State of Mississippi for the 2013 recruiting class, was a huge pickup on 2013 signing day. The Scout rated 3-star wide receiver was a Mississippi State commit but was flipped by the Southern Miss Golden Eagles late in the recruiting process to join the Conference USA program.
With high expectations for his freshman season, Holmes did not disappoint with his most impressive game coming versus Big 10 foe Nebraska. The 5-11, 170 pound slot receiver ended the season as the team leader in receptions with 51 for 410 yards and two touchdowns during the 2013 season, earning him Honorable Mention All-CUSA and Conference USA All-Freshman honors.
Looking to build upon the increased expectations for the 2014 season, Holmes saw those dreams cut short with a season ending leg injury that caused him to miss the entire season during fall preseason practice. Luckily for Holmes, he still had his redshirt available and Southern Miss used it for the 2014 season. His leg injury was particularly tough to overcome and Holmes has been working hard to be ready for the 2015 season opener versus Mississippi State.
Holmes will be expected to slide into competition for the starting slot receiver position with former Houston transfer Casey Martin (55/531/2TD). Both are quality receiver with great hands that excel in the slot though Holmes does have more quickness and athleticism if he is able to come back at full strength. Unlike his freshman season, Holmes should see the field at many different wide receiver slots alongside Marquise Richard (30/417/2TD), Michael Thomas (41/592/5TD), and DJ Thompson (22/231/0TD).
The biggest question remains whether Holmes can show the quickness and ability to play up to competition like he did in 2013 versus Nebraska. Leg injuries are always tricky, especially for wide receivers, and it is almost impossible to tell if a player is back to 100% until he gets out on the field in the fall and takes some snaps. If Holmes is able to take that step forward and show that he is at least at the level of play pre-injury, then Southern Miss suddenly becomes a very talented team at the wide receiver position and could make either Nick Mullens or Tyler Matthews look like an all conference quarterback this fall.
My guess is that 2015 will be a bit of a wash for Holmes with leg injuries being so difficult to recover from. He should see significant playing time in the wide receiver rotation, especially at slot, and make some plays but not quite be ready to step back into the role he was destined for in 2014. Expect Holmes to really make an impact in the 2016 season as a redshirt junior and two years removed from the season ending injury.