FAIRBURN, Ga -- The physical development of cornerback Joshua Holsey (Fairburn, Ga./Creekside) while playing basketball led him to making a name for himself on the gridiron.
As a young basketball player, Holsey would dominate the stat sheet for his AAU teams. He was also making plays on the football and baseball field. His passion for sports assisted his mother in ensuring his behavior was always up to par.
"As a little kid, I never had to discipline him because I would tell him if he misbehaves he would miss practice," Marilyn Davis said. "To him, that was more important than the actual game."
But as Holsey grew older, his mother saw some differences emerging on the basketball team that would ultimately determine his future.
"We did not realize football was the sport for him until all of his teammates on the AAU basketball team grew and he didn't," she said.
Three years ago, Creekside coach Johnny White witnessed the arrival of his star defensive back to the high school ranks.
"He has meant the world to me, and I have been able to witness the maturation process with him," White said. "He came in as a wide-eyed freshman athlete, returned as a sophomore who was an anchor for our defense, then as a junior I asked him to be a playmaker on both sides of the ball, and now as a senior he has become an outstanding leader for our team. I have seen him improve his game each year, and I know Auburn is getting a heck of an athlete in Josh Holsey."
Holsey, who is 76th in the ESPNU 150, has reeled in an impressive 23 career interceptions for the Seminoles. On Tuesday, in front of his classmates, teammates, family and coaching staff, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound defensive back was officially introduced and handed his jersey during the latest stop on the American Life Insurance presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour.
"It is kind of like a dream come true for us," Davis said. "I remember the very first time we watched the Under Armour All-America Game on television, Joshua was asking how you get nominated for that game because he wanted to play in it."
In its fifth year of existence, former standouts of the game include Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Michael Dyer and Jadeveon Clowney. Holsey stated how humbled he has been by the opportunity to go to Orlando and play in the game.
"Really it is just an honor to be mentioned with some of these guys," Holsey said. "I am going to go down there, have fun, and compete with some of the best in the country. This means all of my hard work is starting to pay off."
His mother realized just how rare the honor truly is because out of the hundreds of thousands of players in the country, less than 3000 sign with FBS programs each year, with the top 90 of those being selected to the Under Armour All-America Game.
"There are a lot of talented kids who do not get this opportunity, but I feel like he has worked really hard to get here and is very deserving of this honor," Davis said.
Dozens of programs offered Holsey during the spring evaluation period, but he ended his recruitment early in May by committing to Auburn.
"His recruitment was like a whirlwind, and people said it would get worse. So we tried to get in as many visits as we could early on so we could avoid that," Davis said.
In the end, it was an easy decision for the talented defensive back.
"Auburn has a young team on the rise, so I know going in that it will be a good fit and we can make a run for another title together," Holsey said. "I like everything about Coach [Gene] Chizik and he has built a great coaching staff."
However, other schools have not stopped in their pursuit of Holsey, and those programs might have the chance to get Holsey back on campus, at least one more time.
"Georgia is still in contact," Holsey said. "I am not completely sure if I am going to take official visits, but probably I will take officials to Florida State, Georgia and LSU."
White said whichever program signs Holsey will be getting a versatile defensive back, similar to a former all-time Creekside great.
"I think he could be a lockdown corner, but in the next two years he could get in the weight room and grow into an outstanding safety," White said. "Really I see his college progression being similar to Eric Berry's. Colleges thought he would come in as a corner, which he did and he got in that weight room and switched to safety."
As for Holsey, he is not concerned with what position he plays at the next level.
"I see myself just as a playmaker in college," Holsey said. "Wherever they put me I am going to do whatever I can to help the team win."
Kipp Adams has covered University of Georgia recruiting since 2006. He can be reached at KippAdamsESPN@gmail.com or on Twitter @KippLAdams.