Auburn vs. Opelika high school football

O’Marion Holloway returns a kick during the Opelika vs. Auburn at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika on Aug. 30, 2019.

Opelika receiver Omar Holloway always had a knack to make a play when the Bulldogs desperately needed it. Now, Holloway is ready to make those same plays at the next level.

Holloway committed to Wingate on Sunday night with National Signing Day a little over a week away. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound Holloway also had offers from schools such as Virginia State, Tennessee State and Clark Atlanta.

Holloway’s decision means he’ll be a Bulldog in college just as he was at Opelika. For him, his relationship with the Wingate coaches was crucial in coming to his final decision.

“The top two things I look for in a college are stability and honesty, and I felt as if that was very much in tact,” Holloway said. “It wasn’t only coaches selling themselves on the idea that they were — because all colleges will tell you that — but when all of the players also said they honestly care about them it made me feel very secure. … (Committing was) a huge weight off of my shoulders.”

Holloway is fresh off a season in which he shined as the Bulldogs’ top receiving target. He finished the fall with 51 receptions for 663 yards and nine touchdowns and was part of some of Opelika’s biggest moments, which included catching the game-sealing touchdown against rival Auburn High on Aug. 30.

Holloway was named to the All-State honorable mention squad and the All-Area first team for his contributions.

“He was a guy that if we needed a first down, we felt comfortable getting him the ball or finding a way to get him the ball. There are a lot of things he does without the ball that nobody notices that he does really well. He's a really good blocker and a really smart player,” Opelika head coach Erik Speakman said. “The biggest thing you can say about Omar other than being a great kid is that he loves the game of football. They're getting a player that's going to get there and work really hard for their team and is a great team player in addition to being a great football player.”

Holloway’s consistent play helped Opelika average 32 points per game and reach the state semifinals for the fifth time in program history. For Holloway, it was about everyone making the most of their talent and trying to create an unforgettable year.

As for his time at Opelika, Holloway credited being a part of the Bulldogs’ program for preparing him for what lies ahead.

“I don’t think I would be competing at the next level if it weren’t for Opelika, honestly,” Holloway said. “I used to be competitive but never showed it unless I felt outperformed, but they instilled in me that I must always have that competitive edge because it can ultimately cost you in the long run. It was the same thing with academics.”

Holloway embraced the challenge of the transition to the collegiate level and said being the youngest on campus again will be enjoyable even if it is daunting at first. As far as Wingate is concerned, he had a clear message for his future coaches and teammates about what he expects as a player in the program.

“I can’t wait to meet you all, and the success must and will continue as a team,” Holloway said.

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