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Eagle Point's Holmes wins top honor

Former Eagle Point standout Tyrone Holmes capped his brilliant senior year of football at the University of Montana by being chosen the Football Championship Subdivision's defensive player of the year Friday.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior defensive end was honored, along with other award winners, at the STATS FCS Banquet in Frisco, Texas.

Holmes led the nation with 18 sacks in 13 games. No one else had more than 14 sacks. He had 21.5 tackles for loss and 87 tackles overall. He also had nine quarterback hurries and forced three fumbles.

In his career Holmes finished second in the Montana record books for single season sacks (18), career sacks (34.5) and tackles for loss (49.5).

Holmes' biggest game was against Northern Arizona, when he tallied 11 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.

“I really didn’t think I was going win," Holmes said at the banqut. "I’m extremely blessed that I chose the University of Montana. It was an amazing experience.”

Holmes will play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game features mostly Division I players, including Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams and Oregon State running back Storm Woods.

Holmes became Montana's first national individual honoree since end Kroy Biermann won the defensive award in 2007. Biermann was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and has remained in the NFL.

Holmes beat out two other Big Sky defenders, Portland State safety Patrick Onwuasor and Southern Utah defensive end James Cowser — the Big Sky defensive player of the year. He bested Onwuasor by two points and Cowser by nine in the voting. Holmes had 260 points and 20 first-place votes.

The defensive player of the year award was established in 1995.

Portland State's Bruce Barnum was named coach of the year after leading the Vikings to a 9-3 record, including 3-0 against FBS opponents.

Tyrone Holmes, a senior defensive end for Montana and former Eagle Point standout, is chosen national player of the year. MT FILE PHOTO