Handy-Holly impressed with Florida Gators early on

Signing day is rapidly approaching and the Florida Gators coaching staff is trying to put a nice bow on their first full recruiting class. With just over 48 hours left in the class of 16, Florida is already focusing on the class of 2017 as well.

Kendarian Handy-Holly (6-3, 196, Jackson, Ala. Jackson) camped at Florida last summer in hopes of earning a scholarship offer but it didn’t come while he was in Gainesville. The coaching staff instead told Handy-Holly to be patient and to trust the process before Jim McElwain and Tim Skipper eventually offered him a scholarship two weeks ago.

“It means a lot. I thought I did pretty good down there at camp,” he said. “They told me it was going to come and I just waited patiently. Coach McElwain’s honest. He told me it was going to happen and he stayed on his word.”

Lev Holley, Ken’s father and head coach at Blount High School also spoke with Gator Country about his son’s scholarship offer. Coach Holly balances the roles of coach and father when it comes to his son, but when asked to put on the coach hat he can honestly access Ken the football player.

“He’s a kid that’s very athletic. He can do a lot of different things. He has great ball skills,” Coach Holly said. “That comes from being a quarterback, being a wide receiver, coming up in park leagues.”

After interviewing with Gator Country Holly made a beeline for basketball practice where he made dunking look easy. Handy-Holly’s athleticism is effortless, the kind of easy where he probably doesn’t even realize how impressive his feats are. He’s a talented player but still young and working on becoming a better tackler, something he and his father said is a point of emphasis in practice and training.

Off the field Handy-Holly is unique as well. Florida was his first big offer and rather than celebrating the personal achievement he thought of his teammates first.

“One of the things he said to me when he got his first offer was, ‘my friends will get a chance to been seen, get a chance to be exposed because these recruiters will come to see me’,” Coach Holly said of Ken. “I think that says a lot about him and his mindset.”

Handy-Holly has a full year to make a decision of what college he will attend but Florida getting in and offering him a scholarship was big. “It meant a lot,” Handy-Holly told Gator Country. “I was at a loss for words when they offered me. I’m blessed.”

Playing football in the SEC is intriguing but the fact that Florida is a prestigious academic institution is something that Ken’s father is stressing.

“Understanding that this is an opportunity to play football at a high level and get a great education at the University of Florida, which is very prestigious,” Coach Holly said. “We understand that when it’s all said and done this is about the next four years of his life. He’s got to live it and he’s got to enjoy it, but at the end of the day make himself marketable with a degree and by the way he goes about doing things.”

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC