Holmes feels right at home with Buckeyes

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes feels a strong pull to jump to the NFL early to support his young family, but says he and his parents have decided he will stay with Ohio State for at least another year.

“I’m really not focused on that right now,” the redshirt sophomore said of the lure of the NFL. “My focus is to lead our charge, lead a group of receivers, lead our team to another national championship, if that’s possible. I talked to my parents about it and we kind of settled it down to stay another year and get everything out of it as much as possible.”

Holmes has by far been the top offensive weapon for the ninth-ranked Buckeyes (2-0), who play at North Carolina State on Saturday.

Part of the reason behind his fast start is his dedication to Ohio State’s summer conditioning program. He chose not to go home to Florida to see his girlfriend and two young sons because of his commitment to improving and proving himself.

“I called them (family members) up and I told them, ‘Hey, I won’t be coming home, maybe only once this summer because I’m trying to stay focused on this,”‘ Holmes said earlier this week. “I’m trying to become the best receiver here at Ohio State. I had to put my family second for a change.”

He certainly has been Ohio State’s top receiver, with 14 catches for three touchdowns in two games while averaging 22.5 yards a catch.

He had career-highs with 10 receptions for 218 yards and touchdowns of 80 and 47 yards in Saturday’s last-play, 24-21 victory over Marshall. And he did it despite missing the third quarter with leg cramps. Trainers put an IV drip into each arm to rehydrate Holmes, who returned to make two crucial catches on the final drive that set up Mike Nugent’s game-winning 55-yard field goal.

“He had one and a half bags of intravenous fluid during the third quarter, so he had a big day,” said Tressel, who joked he was glad that Holmes stayed on the field at the end instead of going to the locker room to go to the bathroom because of all the fluids. “Santonio continues to make big plays for us. Maybe most important, he continues to do a good job of leading the receiver corps. … He is a special player.”

Holmes’ 218 yards were the most by an Ohio State receiver since Terry Glenn had 253 yards at Pittsburgh in 1995. The 80-yard TD reception matched the third-longest in school history.

“My confidence is high right now and I’m glad my coaches and the quarterback believe in me,” Holmes said.

A week earlier, he totaled four receptions for 91 yards including a clinching 23-yard touchdown in a 27-6 win over Cincinnati.