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Michael Holland III; Overcoming Injury: CFL/UFL Free Agent Defensive Back Profile

Michael Holland III is a defensive back with great athleticism. His path to the professional level has been a journey that has presented several roadblocks that Holland had to overcome. Holland is a defensive back who is comfortable in man coverage with tremendous closing speed.

DB Michael Holland III – Mississippi Valley State (26 y/o, 6’2, 200 lbs)

“My greatest qualities are my speed and my ability to adapt to any situation. I can play anywhere in the secondary. I also can contribute to special teams and make a huge difference to any organization. Most DBs can’t play off man and that is one of my specialties.” Holland stated when asked what he believes to be the greatest qualities that he brings to a football team.

Holland was named to the 1st Team All Seaboard Conference in 2016 with Valley Forge Military College at the JuCo level and did not allow a touchdown during the season. He also did track at Valley Forge where he qualified for nationals in the 100-meter and 200-meter.

Holland’s 2016 Highlights

Holland transferred to Mississippi Valley State ahead of the 2017 season. In practice ahead of the 2017 season, Holland came down wrong resulting in a broken leg. He explained in an interview in 2020 with NFL Draft Diamonds that at the time he was working towards being the #1 cornerback spot. He also explained that it took him 2 and a half years to fully recover.

Holland worked his way back onto a football team preparing to play for Omaha Beef in the CIF (Champions Indoor Football) but the season was cancelled due to covid. In 2021 he played for Pennsylvania Union in the AAL and that league shut down 5 games due to financial problems largely brought on by the pandemic.

“Man God allowed me to keep going, and a great support system from my parents and my friends,” Holland stated what keeps him motivated despite all the hurdles he has had to overcome. “I looked up stories of guys who made it to the NFL after major Injuries and coming back stronger. It’s all about your mindset and how you attack things.

In 2022 Holland played for the Wyoming Mustangs in the CIF where he played in 2 games. He also played in the Soy Family Mexico Football League in 2022. He also had a private workout with the Edmonton Elks ahead of the 2023 season.

What was your favorite part of playing in Mexico in 2022?

“It was a great experience I got a chance to play against a lot of CFL players. Those Mexicans can ball they can play in the U.S. Also I had two former NFL players on my team getting me better. Most of the Mexicans I played against played in the CFL, great competition, a lot of talent on the American side as well. They pay good as well, They treated the Americans like celebrities out there. I highly recommend for anybody looking to get professional football experience.”

Holland’s 2022 International Highlights

Holland explained how indoor football improved his game. “Indoor allowed me to be able to get my first pro experience with getting paid for playing football. And it slowed the game down for me outdoors because I was going against speedy guys who were in high motion and it helped my off-man. And helped me have great eyes in man and made my reaction time faster so when I went to workouts outside against top competition like In the Gridscamp invite-only workout, the game was so much slower for me since everybody was stationary the game was just slowed down. In indoor I went against guys who had olympian speed in the 100m and 200m, Tamas Newman and others. But indoor football is a great opportunity to get film and move up in the rankings.”

“Also indoor was made for me since I’m really fast and was able to keep up with those fast quick wide receivers. When I was in high school I played a lot of off-man so I was able to adapt to arena football easier than everybody else I also played a lot of man press in high school and in the pros.”

Holland attended Grid Camps’ October event in 2023 and was an official workout partner of the USFL which led to interest from various USFL and XFL teams including the New Orleans Breakers (USFL) and San Antonio Brahmas. At Grids Camp he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and a 40-inch vertical.

He has recently had interest communicated to him from the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL as well as the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL prior to the XFL and USFL’s recent merger.

Holland is signed with the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul although he can still sign with a CFL or UFL team if a contract is offered.

Could you share your thoughts on why you still believe yourself to be game-ready for pro levels despite some absence in game film over recent years? What are some areas that you believe that you have continued to improve in over that time?

“Arena football helped me get my confidence back and get game film and pro experience. It’s why the Edmonton elks invited me to a private workout in 2022 scouted by Sammy G, US Scout, who was very interested in me as well in July 2023 called my agent to see if I was available. I improved my health and my mobility and flexibility. They told me in pro football the best ability is availability so if your’re not available then how can they put you on their team. I also improved in and out of my breaks more smoothly. My DB coach said smooth is the new fast and to be able to do things correctly and take less time getting to my destination”

“Learning how to read offenses and learning how to tell when a WR is going to do a breaking route or out breaking route, studying the wide receivers every move on film and looking at his strengths and weaknesses”

When did you start playing football?

“I started playing football at the age of 7 when I was little I used to get in trouble a-lot and my dad found a way to keep me out of trouble. So he got me into sports. When I was little in the neighborhood I used to run around and I was faster then all the little kids my age.”

Favorite football memory?

“When I was in high school they had me guard the best wide receiver on the opposite team named Michael Flower. He had D1 looks I ended up following him the whole game and he only had 1 catch on me after that game. I started to get interest from D1 schools Temple, Army, Wagner College, Harvard, Brown, and Yale. I was getting letters in the mail”

“Also when they said I hadn’t let up a catch since week 3 in high school that’s when I knew I can play this game for a long time and that I was talented. People always told me I was talented since little league football.”

Training Regimen?

“I train 5 times a week and the two days off I do Pilates for balance, recovery, stability, flexibility. Which is the most important for an athlete to stay healthy. I do a lot of barefoot training too.”

Favorite Movies or video games?

“I am a movie type guy I love horror movies I loved the Halloween collection of movies and my favorite TV show is Martin I love that show I’m not really a video game type person but when I did play I was playing Call of Duty.”

What do you do in your free time?

“In my free time, I like to do pilates, yoga to keep my body healthy. I love to hang out with my family and friends I think that’s the most important thing we call life because you only get one mom and one dad.”

Favorite Sports Team?

“My favorite sports team is the Colts.”

Michael Holland III on Twitter

Jonathan Clink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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