As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on rookie safety Joshua Holsey
1. Despite tearing his ACL twice during his time at Auburn, Holsey was still one of the program’s best defensive backs in recent memory.
Holsey started 31 of 44 games for the Tigers, splitting time at cornerback and safety, recording 118 tackles and four interceptions. He concluded his injury-plagued college career by earning All-SEC third team honors.
“A lot of guys can’t come back from two ACL injuries and play as well I did,” Holsey said. “I was able to battle through those. Injuries happen, so you have to be able to fight through and come back. I feel like I did that and Washington and Coach [Torrian] Gray and Coach [Jay] Gruden felt that as well and took a chance for me.”
Because of his injuries, NFL scouts overlooked Holsey early in the draft process. He was snubbed from both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, so he showed up to Auburn’s Pro Day with something to prove.
Holsey went on to record the best vertical jump (35 inches) and ran an unofficial 4.43-second 40-yard dash. That was enough to impress the Redskins, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
3. He joins a team that has seen Auburn players find homes in Washington before.
The Redskins have looked to the Plains for talent in the past. Holsey is the first Auburn player selected by the Redskins since the team drafted Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers in 2005.
Though Holsey wasn’t selected as high as Rogers, they share a lot of the same traits. Like Rodgers, Holsey plays with intensity and is an instinctive defender who can cause a lot of problems for opposing quarterbacks.
In six seasons with the Redskins, Rogers played in 78 games tallying 257 tackles and eight interceptions.
4. He believes he can come in and contribute immediately.
Holsey is far from a finished product, but he believes that his maturity and versatility can make him an asset to the Redskins in 2017.
“I’m just a really smart, intelligent football player,” Holsey said. “I play ball through the wall every play. I try to go as hard as I can. I watch a lot of film [and] I do the little things that matter at the end. I just want to work on being a pro. Doing what it takes to stay in the league as long as possible. Just learn from those veteran guys who have been there and just get better each and every day.”
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that Holsey “competes as good as any corner [he’s] seen” and is excited to throw the young cornerback into the mix.
“We see him competing at nickel and a little bit at corner,” Gruden said. “He played very well [at Auburn]. He competed against Mike Williams and did a great job. I love his competitiveness.”
5. He finds inspiration through his father.
Back in 2004, Holsey’s father -- an Army Staff Sgt. -- was in Iraq when his convoy was hit by an IED. The accident left his leg severely injured and required amputation.
However, Holsey’s father didn’t let his injury define him. Despite the amputation, his attitude on life left a great impression on Holsey, which motivated him to return to football after two ACL surgeries.
“If he would have quit back then, then I probably would have had the urge to just quit now,” Holsey told Redskins.com. “I would have had the urge to quit the first ACL, the second ACL. Adversity kind of brings out the best in somebody. You kind of know what’s in you when you’re at your lowest moment. I just know I have a lot of fight in me, a lot of courage in me, and I probably get that from him.
“You got to have determination and a passion about yourself to work on getting better and keep going and not to quit no matter what. That kind of carried over with me when I had my two injuries and everything I go through. That mindset just carried over, you can’t quit you have to push through. The mindset is different over there so I think I inherited his mindset.”
Holsey is no stranger to swag, and his Instagram account (theregoesholsey) proves it—Gucci belts and all.
If Holsey can continue to improve and stay healthy, he’ll have the opportunity to become a mainstay in the Redskins’ secondary for years to come.
The film doesn’t lie — check out some of his best plays as an Auburn Tiger.