Fairmont’s Holt staying home to kick for Dayton

Firebirds have five college commitments

Will Holt entered the Fairmont football program as a receiver, but the Firebirds run an option offense and rarely throw the ball. So in the middle of the summer heading into his freshman year, Holt got an idea about another way to contribute on Friday nights.

“I just asked Coach (Dave) Miller for a couple balls to just go try to kick, and my first day kicking, I made a 35-yarder,” Holt said. “And I was like, ‘Coach, I really think I can do this.’”

Holt became an offensive weapon for the Firebirds, kicking 10 field goals in each of the past two seasons. He received nine college offers and announced Monday that he will attend Dayton and compete for the kicking job in the fall. Last year’s kicker Sam Webster entered the transfer portal after the season.

Holt spent only two days in school the past two weeks while taking college visits to NCAA Division II schools Charleston, W.Va., Findlay, Notre Dame College, Gannon, Pa., and Division I FCS Valparaiso and finally Dayton this past weekend.

“They say when you know, you know, and I fell in love with the campus, the athletic side and everything just felt right,” Holt said. “You could tell how much they wanted me.”

The final meeting of Holt’s visit was with new head coach Trevor Andrews, who told him the kicking job competition is wide open.

“I walked right in the room and told him, ‘Coach, I’m staying home,’” Holt said. “I really appreciate Coach Andrews, and the future of Dayton football is only going to be super bright.”

Holt earned Fairmont’s kicking job as a freshman and was perfect on his 20 extra-point attempts. He also met his kicking coach, Andrew Gantz, who played at Centerville, Cincinnati and Northern Illinois. He coaches kickers from around the country and has since become Fairmont’s special teams coordinator.

“I really fell in love with his coaching, the way he treats me, and I can just really relate to everything that he’s telling me,” Holt said.

Holt is one of five Fairmont players who have committed to college programs with a few more expected. The other Division I players are Dalton Gustwiller, a three-star, 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive lineman who signed with Western Michigan in December, and 6-3, 275 offensive lineman Nate Meyer with Valparaiso. In recent days, running back Drew Baker and offensive lineman Enoch Cruz committed to NAIA Georgetown, Ky.

Holt is one of three area kickers headed to Division I programs: Tippecanoe’s Jackson Kleather at Bowling Green and Centerville’s Jackson Courville at Ball State.

Other recent commitments are: Piqua linebacker Sam Schmeising to Dayton; Milton-Union wide receiver Blake Brumbaugh to NAIA Indiana Wesleyan; Northmont athlete Noah McClure to Division II Ohio Dominican; Milton-Union offensive lineman Ethan Lane to Findlay; Chaminade Julienne offensive lineman Ethan Teague to NAIA Seina Heights, Mich.; Centerville running back Emable Wakilongo to Division II Thomas More, Ky.; Bethel’s Jason Bowen to Division III Mount St. Joseph; Piqua wide receiver/cornerback Elijah Frazier to Indiana Wesleyan; Stebbins running back Damir Dewberry to Division III Capital; Xenia defensive lineman Jamell Smith to Georgetown; Miamisburg lineman Brayden Davis to Division II Wayne State, Mich.; Trotwood-Madison offensive lineman Micah Green to Ohio Dominican; Northmont linebacker Brian Jones to Charleston; Springfield cornerback Tyron Barnes to Division II Ashland; Beavercreek receiver/cornerback Connor Ristich to Siena Heights.

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