Coming from a small Class 2A program like Puckett (Miss.) Christian Holmes had quite an eye opening experience when he arrived at Mississippi State and received his playbook.
The 6-foot-2, 227-pound linebacker spent all of his rookie season in Starkville studying his new assignments and adjusting to life at this level.
"Just coming from Puckett, we didn't have that many plays," Holmes said. "We just had a few defenses and now it's a big wakeup call. I'm just hitting the books so I can know what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm just taking it play-by-play and learning one play at a time."
While Holmes would have loved to come in and contribute on the field in year one he acknowledges that he was not ready to compete at the level he needed to. Instead he also used his redshirt season to get in the proper conditioning.
"(Redshirting) was the best thing for me," Holmes said. "Coming in here at 240-pounds, just fat and out of shape, it was a big help. Now I'm more in shape and just ready to play ball."
Holmes went into the spring competing for one of the three vacancies in the Bulldogs linebacking corps. MSU lost all three starting linebackers due to graduation leaving openings for young players like Holmes.
"Spring went pretty good," Holmes said. "It's a lot of work and a lot of work to be done. I'm hitting the playbook hard and just getting everything done on and off the field. I've just got to keep working hard. Everybody is working hard and it's competition every day."
This spring also gave Holmes a chance to adjust to new linebackers coach Geoff Collins. Collins became the Bulldogs new co-defensive coordinator when Manny Diaz departed for Texas following the Gator Bowl.
"I like his coaching style," Holmes said of Collins. "I like how he treats his players. He treats them like they are his own. He just expects a lot out of us and we're going to give him what he expects."
The former two-star prospect earned Class 2A All-Metro honors from the Clarion Ledger after making 107 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, forcing four fumbles and recovering three. Holmes also hauled in 388 yards and nine touchdowns on offense helping lead the Wolves to an 11-2 record.
Holmes went the majority of his senior year without a scholarship offer but garnered a late offer from the Bulldogs just days before signing day.
Now over year later, Holmes is still thankful for the way things have worked out.
"I'm very happy," Holmes said. "Coach (Dan) Mullen is a great person and I'm glad I'm playing under him. All the defensive coaches are great and I love it here. I wouldn't trade it for nothing in the world."