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Giants Now (6/15): Darnay Holmes awarded Pac-12 Medal; Giants fastest team in NFL?


Darnay Holmes named Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal recipient

Giants fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes has been named as one of UCLA's recipients of the 2019-20 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal.

The Conference Medal is awarded each year to each Pac-12 institution's outstanding male and female student-athlete based on "the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership."

Madison Kocian of UCLA's Women's Gymnastics Team was UCLA's other medal recipient.

Holmes was a consistent force in UCLA's secondary for three seasons. He started 33 of 35 games over those three years and led the Bruins in interceptions each season. Holmes ended his UCLA career with a total of eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, 17 passes defended, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three tackles for loss. He was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in both 2018 and 2019.

The cornerback's success goes beyond the field, though. Holmes, an African American studies major, earned his degree from UCLA in just three years and qualified for the UCLA Athletic Director's Honor Roll four times (Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Winter 2019).

Holmes has also given back to his community in several ways already. The Darnay Holmes Mentorship Program, part of The Future Elite Academy in Westlake Village, CA, "helps guide young people through obstacles on their athletic journeys." Holmes also played a big role in organizing the Pasadena Giants youth football program's arrival in his hometown.

View photos of the entire 10-member New York Giants 2020 Draft Class

Giants ranked as fastest team in 11 personnel in NFL

A lot was said last season about the Giants' skill position players, a group that consists of RB Saquon Barkley, WRs Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton, and TE Evan Engram. But due to injuries and suspension, the Giants did not play one game in 2019 with all five of those playmakers active.

With everyone healthy, the amount of speed the Giants' offense contains is undeniable. In fact, those five players are actually the fastest 11 personnel group in the NFL.

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks took a look at every team in the league's projected lineup in 11 personnel, which is one running back, three wide receivers and one tight end, for the 2020 season. They ranked the five fastest groups in the NFL, and at the very top of the list with an average 40-yard dash time of 4.42 seconds were your New York Giants.

"That's exciting for a young quarterback in Daniel Jones," Jeremiah said. "If they can keep Evan Engram healthy, he missed too much time last year, but if they can keep him for a full season, I think this Giants offense has a chance to be very dynamic, very explosive."

The Giants have obvious speed at running back with Barkley. The 2018 NFL Rookie of the Year has shown tremendous explosiveness throughout his young career, becoming the first player in Giants history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.

That speed carries over to the team's wide receivers as well. Shepard, Tate and Slayton have all shown the ability to separate from defenders, so it should not come as a surprise that each one recorded a 40-yard dash time under 4.5 seconds. But the big factor that catapults the Giants to the top of the list is Engram's quickness. Not only did Engram run the fastest 40-yard dash among all tight ends at the 2017 NFL Combine, but he also recorded one of the fastest 40-yard dashes for a tight end in history.

"Yeah, I think they have an opportunity to be very explosive," Brooks said. "The key to it would be spreading the field. Because of all that speed and explosiveness, they now can create opportunities for their most explosive player, Saquon Barkley, to not only make plays as a runner, but as a receiver. I think Daniel Jones is going to lead a much-improved New York Giants offense."

Here are the recorded 40-yard dash times for each of the five offensive playmakers:

Saquon Barkley - 4.40

Golden Tate - 4.42

Sterling Shepard - 4.48

Darius Slayton - 4.39

Evan Engram - 4.42

Tae Crowder honored by Georgia hometown

The Giants had 10 draft picks this year, the last of which was the final selection of the 2020 NFL Draft. Since 1976, the final player selected in the draft has earned the title of that year's "Mr. Irrelevant." In a normal year, that player would have the opportunity to spend a week in Southern California, visit Disneyland and be the guest of honor at a roast/ceremony.

This year, the honor of "Mr. Irrelevant" belongs to Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder, whom the Giants took with the 255th pick.

Crowder was recently honored by his hometown of Pine Mountain, Georgia with a sign welcoming incomers to the "home of the 2020 NFL Draft pick 'Mr. Irrelevant' Tae Crowder."

"I knew about Mr. Irrelevant, but I didn't know all of the stuff that came with it," Crowder said back in April after being drafted. "It's pretty special for me and my family. We'll have fun with it.

"They (the Mr. Irrelevant committee) called me right after the draft and we kind of talked about everything, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to actually do it. I think they'll reach out to me, I guess, when everything clears up. We'll just have to find a way to plan it with my family."


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