Shortly after Darnell Holloway had settled on a college destination, the recruiting process became as stressful as ever for the Osborne High School football standout.
Holloway, one of the premier Eight-Man players in the state, announced his commitment to Emporia State on Dec. 10, but he soon began to rethink things after Fort Hays State made a strong push.
Ultimately, the back-to-back MIAA champs won over Holloway and he announced last week on Twitter he would be switching his commitment to Fort Hays.
“It was stressful to tell a school that I was switching to a different school,” Holloway said. “But, at the end of the day, you just got to do what’s best for you, and that’s what I did.”
As grueling as the process was mentally, Holloway said he's convinced he made the right decision to flip to Fort Hays, citing a willingness to play closer to home while also being intrigued by the Tigers' success over the last two years.
“My parents and I talked about it and I had to think about the pros and cons of each school," he said. "I decided that Hays was the place for me. It was really stressful. But it’s really just your decision: Where do you want to go? Where do you feel the best at?"
The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder quarterbacked the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record and runner-up finish in Eight Man Division II, with Osborne falling to Hanover 58-50 in an entertaining title game.
Holloway rushed for 1,616 yards and 31 scores on the season while passing for 992 yards on 56 completions with 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He averaged 124.3 rushing yards per game while directing an explosive Bulldogs' offense that put up 732 points on the season.
Holloway was recruited by a handful of NAIA schools to play quarterback but will play receiver at Fort Hays. He said he's looking forward to the challenge of playing in the MIAA.
"The MIAA is obviously the best conference in Division II," he noted.
FHSU coach Chris Brown has taken the Tigers to new heights over the last two years, with FHSU going 20-4 in that span with the back-to-back conference titles and two straight playoff appearances.
“This school is for me. I know this is going to be the right school,” Holloway said. “I’m going out and reaching out to other players and telling them come to Hays. That’s part of my job now, to get other people to come to Hays and join us."
Holloway said it's a relief to have the recruiting process behind him.
“It’s like a weight lifted off of my shoulders," he said. "I don’t have to worry about other schools trying to contact me. I’m just so relieved right now. I can just do what I do — play basketball and focus on school and then move on to summer."
Holloway is also enjoying a strong year on the basketball court, leading the Bulldogs to a 12-0 record so far.
“Basketball’s going good,” Holloway said. “We’re coming along. It looks promising.”