A face-off between wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman and defensive back Eric Stokes is nothing new.
The two played on the same recreational team and have been battling against one another since youth football. It continued when they went to rival high schools — Holloman to Newton County and Stokes to Eastside. Through it all they have built a friendship that has helped them grow on the field.
“Just knowing that when we are out there practicing and just pushing each other,” Holloman said. “I mean knowing that he is getting better as I am getting better.”
The two faced one another in Georgia’s G-Day spring game Saturday.
They traded touchdowns during the game. Stokes earned his in the first quarter when he intercepted a pass from quarterback Jake Fromm, and Holloman saw the back of his jersey as Stokes ran into the end zone. Holloman responded in the fourth quarter with 43-yard reception from quarterback Stetson Bennett.
"I knew it was going to be a touchdown when they called it up,” Holloman said of his scoring play. “I saw the way the safety was playing and how he tried to tee it on the route, and then I just did a double move and I was wide open across the middle.”
Coach Kirby Smart said Holloman had a consistent spring. While he had a slower start on offense during G-Day, Holloman turned it around and found his rhythm. He caught three passes for 54 yards and one touchdown.
“He’s physical, competitive, he runs the stop routes well. He’s made a couple of really good plays on the deep balls in some other practices,” Smart said. “But he’s a model of consistency. He’s got really strong hands and does some nice things.”
Holloman played in all 14 games during the 2018 season, and finished his sophomore season as the fifth-leading receiver, with 24 catches for 418 yards and five touchdowns. His focus through spring practice and into his junior season is to be a vocal leader and to improve his abilities on the field. He is working to be a harder critic on himself and to make sure he does not have a low day in practice.
Georgia’s wide receiver corps lost key players when Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley declared for the draft, as well as Terry Godwin finishing his senior season. Holloman said the group has made strides through the spring, working to fill the gaps left behind.
Players such as Kearis Jackson, Demetris Robertson and Matt Landers have stepped up to the challenge and stood out to Holloman. His goal is for the group to not become complacent with where they are, but to put in the work each day and keep improving.
As an upperclassman, he recognizes the younger players in the receiving corps are watching and learning from him. He’s using his role to continue his own improvement on the field in preparation for the coming season.
“I realized the more I talk on the field and stuff like that, the more comfortable I am about everything that is going on the field,” he said.