Eleven months ago, defensive lineman Justin Holt was supposedly done with football, not cleared medically to play at Arizona because of concussion concerns after undergoing protocol tests by the school’s medical staff.
“Justin is no longer playing football,” former coach Rich Rodriguez stated during spring practice on Feb. 18 of last year. “He’s got a medical that’s going to prevent him from playing. It’s a shame, he’s a great young man, but hopefully he’ll finish his academic career here and move on.”
Last night, Holt, son of former Arizona defensive lineman/linebacker Julius Holt, welcomed UNLV defensive line coach Tony Samuel into his family’s home in Tucson for a recruiting visit.
Idaho has also visited, and according to the elder Holt, Justin has at least three other programs showing plenty of interest. Arizona is not one of those programs courting Justin, for now.
Holt, 6-foot and 295 pounds, redshirted as a freshman at Arizona in 2016 after starring at Salpointe Catholic. He sought more input from doctors on his playing status after he was told by Arizona he should retire. He was later cleared to play at Eastern Arizona College last season.
He tallied 12 tackles while playing a limited role in six games for the Gila Monsters.
“He’s been cleared to play by a neurologist and he’s passed a complete physical,” Julius Holt communicated to me today. “He left Arizona in good academic standing and he’s eligible.”
With Justin’s football career back on track, the former three-star talent with the Lancers appears ready to join a Division I program next season with three years of eligibility remaining.
The National Football Signing Day is Feb. 7.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.