To improve as a player and a person, you must be mentally tough. You have to get through the rough times to appreciate the good times. For University School junior quarterback, Gunnar Holcombe, being mentally tough is what sets him apart from other players.
"My mental toughness is my top attribute. Although I haven't had the experience that others have had, as I wasn't able to start much my junior year due to an injury, I am big at staying positive and knowing my time will come. My coach was telling me the other day that I was a great teammate and that I helped others get better. I never thought about sulking and complaining about playing time. That solves nothing at all. I just waited it out and prepared for my chance. My senior year is very important to me so I am working hard to be great. It's definitely time for me and my teammates to shine."
Over the last two months, the 6-foot-4, 195 lb gunslinger has had his chance to shine. He took trips to participate in a few camps and combines to show off his talents.
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"I went to Miami to participate in a camp, then went to the Under Armour combine and then went to the US Army All American combine. I received a lot of positive feedback from those at the camps. I feel I did well, but there is always room for improvement. I am just continuing to tighten up my skills. Oh, and next week I am actually going to the Elite 11 competition and I am hoping to standout at that event."
Although Holcombe has a very busy schedule with school, camps, baseball and football workouts, he was able to make it to a few Junior Days over the last two months.
"I went to the Florida State Junior Day. I had a great time. The staff was all really nice and you can see the intensity they had about winning. Coach Craig and Coach Gran have stayed in touch with me and I really enjoy talking to them. I also went to the Miami junior day. I had fun there too. They were all new, but you can see that they are trying to turn the program around. I wanted to go the South Florida Junior Day today, but I couldn't make it because I had a track meet. I was running hurdles and doing the high jump."
Coaches are starting to take notice of Holcombe's talents and he was honored to be selected to play for the South Florida Express, one of the state's top 7-on-7 football teams.
"I was recently selected to play with the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team. We have a stacked team, so it's been great working with them. There is a lot of competition at the quarterback position with Tyler Cameron and EJ Hilliard. There is a ton of talent on our team with major D1 prospects. We got Duke Johnson, Sony Michel, Avery Johnson, Stacey Coley, Deon Bush, Keith Brown and some others. It's a fun time."
With the fact that he didn't play much his junior season, Holcombe's recruitment is just starting to pick up. He currently holds three scholarship offers and definitely knows what he is looking for in a school.
"I currently have three verbal offers. Rutgers, South Florida and Wisconsin have offered. USF is nice and local, however Wisconsin stands out at the moment. I have heard great things about the facilities, the school, and the potential to play early is there. They also have a nice tradition of being very good lately. Tradition, education and early playing time are what I am looking for in a school. I don't have to start from day one, but I do want to have the chance to compete for early playing time."
Holcombe has major goals. He wants to win a state title, go to college on a football scholarship and play in the NFL. There are two big names that he models his game after, to make sure that goal number three is achieved.
"I love watching Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. I would say I model my game after them. They are both so comfortable in the pocket. They are winners and never lose focus and poise. They have great pocket presence and work hard to be two of the best in the league. If I can be half as good as them, then I will be successful."