“Football is game of inches” is one of the sports’ longest running mantras. Some may hear the phrase and instantly paint it in a negative light. For Defensive Back Michael Holland III, a Norristown, PA native, he’s doing everything he can brighten up that canvas. I caught up with Holland III as we talked about his football career thus far, and his plans for his career going forward:
AP: Where did your passion for the game of football come from?
MH III: “My passion came from playing in the neighborhood in Norristown, PA where I’m from and I was always the speedy guy and my friends told me I should play football. My parents thought it would be best for me to play football to keep me out of trouble. I didn’t think I would be good at it and when my dad signed me up to play little league football for Plymouth White Marsh Spartans, my second year I had 27 touchdowns at 7 years old and everybody told my dad, you’re kid has what I takes to make it to the big leagues if he keeps it up”
AP: Give us some background on the early days in your football journey, both in High School and Junior College:
MH III: “My high school days I was an all area and All league in track and football, I had the most pass deflections on my team and I also broke the school 4×1 record in track and field, I had interest from D1-AA schools Wagner College, St. Francis University, Temple, Army and had D2 schools such as Slippery Rock and Kutztown, but I had to go to junior college because I had bad grades. I was considered a lockdown cornerback in high school and ran a 4.40 40 at the Temple camp, and at my high school as well I was the fastest on the team, junior college I played with tons of talent two 4 star recruits and some that did not have the grades and could of went division 1. I played Safety and Cornerback and received all conference Defensive Back 1st team at Valley Forge Military College and in track I qualified for nationals for the 100m and 200m”
AP: You then received a scholarship to play at Mississippi Valley State University. What was that experience like?
MH III: “Playing division 1 and earning a scholarship was fun and different I was not used to down south and being that far away from home so it was different. But I met some great people who have connects to places that I want to go, such as the NFL and running a business. I wouldn’t trade my decision for the world it was the best decision I made going there and being able to compete with people all over the world to test to see if I have what it takes to make it big!”
AP: You suffered a serious leg injury during your time at MVSU. Walk us through what happened that day:
MH III: “I landed wrong when came up for a deflection on one on ones. I jumped really high in the air and landed in a pot hole, our practice fields had pot holes and it was just a rare injury it took me 3 half years to recover, but I worked my tail off to get back. Doctors told me I’m lucky to be able to move how I move now they are surprised! But it was all hard work to get back and I’m 200% back! And better than I was!”
AP: Having to deal with a serious injury and taking the appropriate time to heal, can you speak on what your mentality was like as you were rehabbing?
MH III: “I took everything slow didn’t rush anything which is why it healed properly. I didn’t rush anything missed two spring balls and two seasons because I know my body and I know what’s right for me and God knows as well and I knew he would give me another opportunity to make it to the big stage. I told myself yes you are hurt and yes I was sad and depressed but I remember it’s people out there that wished they can do what I can do and there’s people who had worst injury than me and they can’t even walk or run anymore or do any physical sport. I just told myself stop feeling sorry for yourself and get up and work hard everyday and be patient don’t rush anything”
Here’s Holland III’s 4.46 40 Yard Dash
SPEED DEMON🐆 pic.twitter.com/3peKf41WfO— Michael Holland III (@Channel24mike) July 22, 2020
AP: When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation (and still is), did that impact you and your attempts to get signed with football leagues across the country?
MH III: “Yes, the COVID didn’t impact my chances at other professional leagues, but I just continued to work with my trainer Sean at Speed Elite [and I] Ran a 4.4 40 yard dash consistently timed by two people at 4.46 and they both had 4.46, and once timed a 4.33, and jumped a 36inch standing vertical as well and sent those footage to scouts and that’s when arena and overseas came calling in! I just took advantage of sitting out as a chance to get better so when an opportunity comes I’ll be more than ready!”
AP: You’ve signed with the Fútbol Americano de México (FAM) league which is based in Mexico. How does it feel knowing you’ll be playing football professionally? Also to follow up, looking beyond this FAM season, is the NFL still your ultimate goal?
MH III: “It feels good to become a pro, but it doesn’t stop here. I want to go beyond [the] FAM league in Mexico. I want to go to the NFL/CFL so that is why I am getting film for them to scout me on, and yes, NFL is still my ultimate Goal. I just turned 24, I’m still young and running around like I’m little again. I do yoga, Pilates and mobility drills as well to help my movement and my muscles recover as well”
Height – 6’2” / Weight – 195 LBs / 40 Time – 4.46 / Vertical – 36”
As Micheal Holland III transitions to a new team, and a new country, the mentality stays the same. Outwork and out-hustle everyone else. You can catch Holland III playing in the FAM for the Tequileros, with games starting in June of 2021. Holland III looks to put together a solid set of game film, which he can take with him to wherever his football journey leads him next. I appreciate Michael taking the time and I’ll be following his career closely!