Clayton Holmes (’89), a cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, is happy to have recovered from his 1993 preseason injury. He missed the entire 1993 season due to an injury to his right knee in the preseason game against the Raiders. Before his injury, Holmes had seven tackles, one quarterback pressure and three pass defenses. He also returned six kickoff for 135 yards and one punt for seven yards.
Holmes played in 15 games as a rookie and made his mark on special teams. He tied for second with 15 tackles on the coverage units and added six more in the postseason. Holmes, the Cowboys’ leading kickoff returner in the preseason (22.5 yard average), returned his first NFL kickoff 24 yards at Denver. He had a career long 28-yearded against Chicago and played some on the special pass situation defense at Detroit and with the nickel defense in the fourth quarter against the Giants. In Super Bowl XXVII, Holmes recorded three tackles on Buffalo’s last possession of the game and a fumble recovery at the Bills’ 44-yard line when Leon Lett forced wide receiver Steve Tasker to fumble.
Drafted in the third round (58th overall), Holmes went to Dallas as a two-time NAIA All-American selected from Carson-Newman, but his other two collegiate seasons were spent as a junior college quarterback at North Greenville College. After joining the Cowboys, Holmes displayed his speed by running a 4.23, 40-yard dash in Dallas’ post draft mini-camp, the fastest 40 among both the Cowboys’ rookies and veterans.
A healthy Clayton Holmes took every advantage in contributing to the two-year Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys in the 1994-95 football season.
His drive and determination during his rehabilitation in the 1993 season allowed him to be a force to be reckoned with in the 1994-95 campaign. The North Greenville All-American was 18th on the team in tackles playing back-up roles at left and right corner for the Cowboys. His eight solo tackles, four assists, and two passes defended led all reserve defensive backs in statistics. In hopes for a third-straight Super Bowl ring, Clayton led the defensive corners with two solo tackles and a fumble recovery in the 1994-95 playoffs. Holmes’ efforts in the playoffs on special teams rose dramatically from his season statistics of four solo tackles and six assists. He led the Cowboys with three solo tackles and six assists. He led the Cowboys with three solo tackles to spear head the charge and end up with an impressive record for his efforts in the 1994-95 season.
COLLEGE: As the South Atlantic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, Holmes finished second in the NAIA and tied the Carson-Newman single-season record with eight interceptions. His 199 yards interception returns gave him 462 return yards for his career, establishing a school record.
HIGH SCHOOL: Holmes earned all-conference honors as a defensive back at Wilson High School in Florence, SC, and set the South Carolina state record in the long jump.
Printed in the April 1995 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.