Ahead of the NFL Draft next week, we interviewed Western Michigan DT Ralph Holley. Without spoiling too much in our interview with Ralph, he mentions he would love to meet Grady Jarrett and this is actually who Holley reminds me of. Both are similar height and use their frame and explosiveness to bully opposing guards and gain leverage with ease.
High School Champ
Out of high school Holley was a three-star recruit. Throughout high school Holley was accustomed to success as he won three State Championships. Furthermore, Holley was recognised as one of the top 50 high school prospects in the State of Michigan which led to five offers before he committed to Western Michigan.
Freshman foes to Sophomore hero
Holley’s freshman season was a frustrating one as he only featured on 80 snaps across the season producing 3 tackles. However, his sophomore year was a completely different story. Holley featured 10 times for the Western Michigan Broncos and racked up 28 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 5.0 sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Getting better and better and better
Throughout the next several season Holley got better and better, this is a guy who earned All-MAC honors. In 2019, Holley racked up 38 tackles on the year, tied 11th in the MAC for tackles for loss with 10.5 and tied 13th in the division for sacks with 4.5.
In the COVID shortened year Holley continued to impress as he played 6 games for the Broncos as he produced 29 tackles and led the team with 9.0 tackles for a loss as well as adding 3.0 sacks to the stat column. Furthermore, Holley recorded a 90.6 pass Rush rating which ranked 12th Nationally amongst Defensive Lineman.
Chuck Bednarik contention
In the past year Holley had a campaign to remember as he played 13 times for the Broncos and racked up 39 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 6.0 sacks and a forced fumble leading the underrated talent to him been on the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list.
What is there not to like about Holley. Throughout his college career he has dominated and he reminds me a lot of the Atlanta Falcons DE Grady Jarrett. Holley is a four year starter who has consistently produced for the Broncos. This is a player who is explosive out of the snap and has an electric first step.
Holley is smaller than most at the position but he uses this to his advantage, as he is built low to the ground alongside his excellent athleticism he gets a lot of leverage against opponents. Furthermore, he uses his hands well and has a great swim move which limits OL’s getting the better of him.
Impressive college stats. Finished his Broncos career with 137 total tackles, 45.5 tackles for a loss and 18.5 sacks. I genuinely think that Holley will be an absolute steal in this year’s NFL Draft!
At 5 Yard Rush our very own Luke Renton sat down with the Western Michigan Bronco Ralph Holley to find out more on the impressive DT
What is your favourite moment from your college career?
– My favorite moment in my college career was winning the Quicklane bowl there where a lot of Alumni there supporting and I won a ring with my team. Also with me having a dominate game with 2 sacks and 2tfls.
Did you follow an NFL team growing up?
-I followed the lions growing up when Suh played for them i still follow do follow them and love their program.
How would you describe your playing style?
– I would describe my play as quick and destructive my get off and my hands are key points in my game. Creating disruption in the backfield is my game.
5 year college career, do you feel it benefited you using the extra time to develop?
– I think the Covid year helped me tremendously it gave me a chance to capitalize on an already dominate year I had and just show more of my game and the different ways I make plays.
Who do you model your game after?
– I model my game after Aaron Donald. He is also a short DT that makes plays regardless of his size.With me being the same height as him I pride my self on my explosiveness and my ability to create disruption at the point of attack and get to the quarterback.
How do you see your NFL future/role?
– I see myself being a Coachable and able player in the league. I see me as a 2nd 3rd pass rusher that will also be able to disrupt the run.
If you could hang out with a footballer past or present who would it be?
– Aaron Donald and Grady Jarrett just because they are both some of the most respected DTs in the NFL and have made plays and made a name for themselves regardless of their size.
Follow Holley on Twitter @HolleyRalph
-Luke Renton @MCRsBlue
Read Lukes other interview with Wendell Bing here