Louisville safety Gerod Holliman has gained national notoriety this season by tying a daunting, 46-year-old NCAA record of 14 interceptions in a season. But while averaging better than an interception per game couldn't be a better way to start a safety's resume, one NFL scout doesn't believe Holliman is anywhere near ready for the NFL.
"He needs to go back to school," one scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "He's horrible. He can't make a tackle to save his life. He's got pretty good instincts, but he's not that athletic."
The worst way to start a safety's resume? Poor tackling would rate awfully high.
But as scathing a review as that is, it's not the consensus view, either. NFL Media analyst and former NFL scout Bucky Brooks is much higher on Holliman's pro potential, and last month likened him to former Baltimore Ravens star Ed Reed. Holliman has made 37 tackles this season, a fairly low number for a starting safety, although he hasn't needed help for many of them (29 solos). He's made the most of his interceptions to change field position, piling up 245 return yards and a touchdown off the turnovers.
It certainly isn't as though the Cardinals underclassman doesn't have plenty of time to improve. As a third-year sophomore, he has two more years of NCAA eligibility remaining, but is also old enough to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft if he chooses to do so before a Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen. Holliman is a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, along with cornerbacks Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Senquez Golson of Oregon and Ole Miss, respectively.