Eskimos add speed with Holland

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:11 PM ET

EDMONTON - He’s not here yet, but given Jonathan Holland’s track record, he should be soon.

The Edmonton Eskimos freshest signing brings one word to the mind of head coach Kavis Reed when asked to describe the kick-returning wide receiver.

“Fast,” a chuckling Reed said of the Oakland Raiders 2007 draft pick, who started three years at Louisiana Tech. “The gentleman is fast. He’s a strong, multi-purposed individual. If you play for an Al Davis Raiders team, you must have speed.”

And the six-foot-one, 195-pound Holland has it in spades, running down All-Western Conference honours in the 100m and 200m events on the track in college, while totalling 85 receptions for an average of 15.7 yards per catch on the gridiron.

He then spent three seasons bouncing back and forth between the Raiders practice squad and active roster, recording 28 kick returns in 14 games in 2009 for 550 yards and an average of 19.6 yards. He also played wide receiver and defensive back with the Silver and Black.

“But he’s very humble, still has the hunger,” Reed said. “A lot of guys with three years’ NFL experience, you’re typically leery of getting because of the money they’ve made, because of the spotlight they’ve had. But this young man, from our research and from personally communicating with him, is very humble and still very hungry.”

The addition of Holland brings the total number of receivers/slotbacks to 13, making for good competition for both Canadians and import players alike.

“We committed to surrounding Ricky Ray with talent and with weapons,” Reed said. “We’ve also committed to taking some of the pressure off of Fred Stamps.

“We’re going to continue to look for playmakers. There might be one or two more signings that may raise some eyebrows in terms of: ‘Wow, another receiver,’ or other skill guys.”

Rookie camp opens June 1 at Clarke Park, with training camp beginning June 5.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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