Aug 2020 Dave Campbell’s Texas Football

Randell HolmesPrestonwood Christian Academy has had some notable athletes come through its school in recent history, highlighted by New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, Jacksonville Jaguars rookie defensive back J.R. Reed and current Oklahoma Sooners tight end Austin Stogner.

Senior running back Randell Holmes might be the most impressive of the bunch. “From a character and leadership standpoint, he is right up there with them in that regard,” Lions head football coach Chris Cunningham said. “Randell has talent. He may not be the biggest, but he has speed and his strongpoint is his character, his attitude, his resilience, his perseverance. You do not become the young man that he is without his toughness. I’ve seen it over and over again. I would put him in that category with those guys.”

Holmes, who rushed for 1,020 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Lions while earning second-team all-state honours in 2019, was born completely deaf and wears a cochlear implant. While not many would notice that fact without the rising senior running back mentioning it, it is an obstacle that he is forced to overcome during his everyday life and while on the field.  “Nobody in my family on either side has any history of deafness or hearing loss, so it came out of the blue,” Holmes said. “I was very insecure while wearing the implants when I was younger. As I have gotten older, I have found myself and my true purpose.”

Holmes familyFamily and faith are two big components of Holmes’ life. He explained that each of his parents have sacrificed so much throughout his life to ensure he can have the ability to hear and to live a normal life. “My parents have been amazing throughout everything,” Holmes said. “Nothing I have been able to accomplish would have been possible without the sacrifices that they have made.” Holmes’ dad worked multiple jobs in order to afford the cochlear implants, while his mom stepped down from her teaching career in order to support him as he navigated through his childhood. "The journey to where I am today has not been without sacrifice," Holmes said. "Without the financial support of many of my family members, I would not be where I am today. My dad worked three jobs just to make hearing a possibility for me. The fact that he made that kind of sacrifice, means the world. “My mom took me to speech therapy five times a week every week since I was six months old until I was 12. She quit her job as a teacher to support me and raise me. Both of them have been so supportive during this process.”

While Holmes faces challenges with his deafness, he chooses to look on the positive side of things rather than harping on the negative. He talked about an instance that opened his eyes to the fact that others are going through similar circumstances and that he can provide a source of inspiration for many. “There was one kid that was throwing the football with his friends during one of our games. He told his mom that he wanted to play football, but she was concerned about him playing with the implants in,” Holmes said. “He pointed to the field and told her that ‘No. 7 wears them while playing.’ It’s pretty cool to know that younger kids are looking up to me.”

RandellHolmes said that he has received several messages on Instagram from people telling him that they also have cochlear implants. He explained that it does not matter if it is one person or several, he wants to make an impact on people. On the football field, Holmes has certainly made quite the impact. One of the returning rushing leaders in all of TAPPS, Holmes is a threat running or catching the football. Holmes explained that he has dreams of playing slot receiver on the next level, and Cunningham points to his hands as one of his best attributes. “He is very good at catching the football,” Cunningham said. “He is a force on the football field and plays with incredible toughness. He accelerates and stops on a dime, and he fights for every yard.”

Playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Holmes says he looks up to current Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott due to Elliott’s determination and the way that he carries himself on the field. “I love his toughness,” Holmes. “I know I am only 5-10 and 180 pounds, but I play as fast and hard as I can, and I feel like Zeke does that with his toughness and attitude. He has a swagger to him that I try to have on the football field.”

The Lions’ back holds six scholarship offers from Division II and Division III schools as he prepares for his final season on the high school level. Holmes enjoys making big plays and has aspirations to continue playing football after he graduates next spring, but he pointed to the Friday night atmosphere, the brotherhood formed in the locker room and the lessons learned from each game as to why he loves the sport so much. “The biggest takeaway that I want people to take from my story is to make a positive situation out of a negative situation,” said Holmes. “I don’t want to be remembered for the amount of rushing yards that I had or the touchdowns that I scored. I want to be remembered for the impact that I had on different people.”

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Here is a link to Deafblindness support and information.
They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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Vision Statement: “For all young people who are deaf to reach their potential in life.”

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