Our Diamond In The Rough section is designed to highlight skilled athletes who have the potential to play at the next level but are flying under the radar. Today we will be highlighting Justin Hollins, East Iberville High’s All-District Defensive Tackle.
Justin Hollins c/o 2020
School: East Iberville High
Coming in at 6’1 and 275 lbs., the first word that comes to mind when you see Justin play is angry! With one look at his film you can tell that this guy plays with a chip on his shoulder. What grabs your attention most is how technically sound he is, using various d-line moves to destroy his opponents with ease! During his junior season at East Iberville Justin racked up a total of 38 tackles, 6 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 5 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception that he returned over 30 yards, showing off his athleticism. He was awarded 1st Team All District DL in 2018 and 2nd Team All District OL in 2017, dominating both sides of the ball.
Justin is receiving interest from Columbia University, Yale, Stephen F. Austin, Nichols State, Arkansas-Monticello, Alcorn, McNeese, Arkansas Tech, Alabama State, Arkansas State, and Mississippi College. We recently had an opportunity to sit down with Justin to ask him a few questions about this upcoming season, his passion for the sport, and how it all began.
•The game looks like it comes to you naturally. At what age did you start playing football? I started at the age of 9. I played a lot of little league ball.
•What is one thing you want to accomplish during your high school career? I want to become an All State/ All Metro DT. I also want to be the best player to ever walk through my school’s hallways…ever!
•What is your biggest accomplishment in football so far? 1st team All District and becoming the highest weightlifter in school history.
•Has playing football ever helped with personal problems off the field? I feel as though football makes you mentally tough and gives you perseverance through adversity. So, yes it does; it helps with a lot of personal problems
•During your football career have you had to overcome any obstacles or difficulties? Yes, I did: injuries, life, grades and just issues dealing with the down years we’ve had.
•What do you love the most about football? I love the fact that you can prove yourself any day and any time; nobody can take it away from you unless you take it from yourself.
•Have there been times in the past where you felt like quitting? What motivated you to keep going? I have and honestly it’s just having personal accountability just knowing once you start something, it’s no stopping it.
•Do you consider football to be harder mentally or physically? Honestly, I feel that it’s a combination of both. If you don’t outsmart the opposing players you lose, and if you aren’t as strong or don’t work hard enough you lose, so both.
•How do you handle wins and losses?
Losing is something that I hate. Losses flip a switch. Wins are great, but I always feel I can do better.
•Who motivated you to start playing the game of football? My father and grandmother’s death, honestly. He was a 1st team all district line backer for Woodlawn; he motivated me as a child. My grandmother died when I was 11, so that made me work 10 times harder.
•In what ways do you show your leadership on and off the field?
I’m accountable on both the field and classroom. Anything you ask I’m willing to do.
•Describe yourself in one word?
Accountable. Before you can lead you have to hold yourself accountable.
•How long did it take for you to realize you where above average at football?
Ummm… honestly it took me up until this year for me to look at myself as above average. I honestly started thinking more about it later in my junior year.
•What can you work on to better yourself as a player and person?
I can do more things for my community of St. Gabriel as a person. As a player, my speed could be better, but just learning more moves to beat O-Linemen.
•What NFL player would you say your style resembles most?
Honestly I play like Ed Oliver or Aaron Donald with less speed but the same quick steps and explosion.
•What advice would you give a young athlete would wanted to play football?
KEEP WORKING. NEVER STOP. THE SECOND YOU STOP IS THE SECOND YOU FALL.