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The Blitz

Local pair take advantage of early signing period, commit to D-1 schools

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    Devin Holmes of Amherst on signing day Dec. 20.


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    Avon senior Jimmy McKenna has committed to play football at Purdue.



Prior to the 2017 football season Amherst senior Devin Holmes made the transition from tight end to wide receiver and the move helped the Comets finish with their first winning season since 2010.

On Wednesday, Harris made another transition, from high school athlete to Division I college athlete, when he signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his football career at Fordham University.

Harris was one of two local players to take advantage of the new early signing period for football, joining Avon’s Jimmy McKenna, who is headed to Purdue.

“It was a blessing to be able to play wide receiver,” Holmes said. “It’s not really me, it was my coaches who always gave me a game play to succeed. I just did what they asked.”

Holmes expects to move back to tight end next year when he heads to the Bronx to play for the Rams and study criminal justice.

“I fell in love with the campus at Fordham and the coaching staff,” Holmes said.

As a senior, Holmes caught 25 passes for 412 yards and six touchdowns, earning a spot on the all-district, all-Lorain County and all-Southwestern Conference teams.

Holmes, who’s also a member of the Comets track and field team, will be spending a lot of time in the weight room, trying to add 15-20 pounds of muscle to get ready to compete for a starting job at Fordham in his freshman year.

“It was a pleasure to coach Devin,” Amherst coach Mike Passerrello said. “He was really one of the key pieces to help us move the program forward and have a successful season. I’m very happy for him and his family. Devin has a great opportunity in front of him and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does at the next level.”

As a kid, McKenna said he spent his Saturday afternoons watching Big Ten football on TV.

Now’s he’s going to have the chance to follow his dream and play against those same schools.

“Purdue is a great academic fit for me and they have a great football program that is on the rise,” said McKenna, who will major in industrial engineering technology.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound McKenna was an All-Ohio second-team offensive linemen as a senior. He was the recipient of the Lombardi Award, given annually to the top lineman in Lorain County.

“If you would have told me freshman or sophomore year that I’d be signing a letter of intent, I would have said you were crazy,” McKenna said. “I just went out every Friday night and played hard and the rest took care of itself.”

In McKenna’s three years on Avon’s varsity roster, the Eagles went 33-4, won a pair of Southwestern Conference championships and advanced to the 2017 Division II state semifinals.

“It was just great getting to play football every Friday night with the kids I grew up with, my brothers,” McKenna said.

Eagles coach Mike Elder said the way McKenna handled himself off the field was just as impressive as the way he manhandled oncoming pass rushers at the line of scrimmage.

“Jimmy is confident, but not arrogant. That’s one of the things that makes him special” Elder said during Wednesday’s ceremony. “He’s a Division I talent who was offered by multiple schools, his work ethic was second to none and he was a great teammate.”

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or

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