Making Sense of Max Holloway’s Puzzling NFL Draft Decision


On Thursday evening, Boston College fans were surprised to learn that redshirt junior defensive end Max Holloway intends to forgo his senior season at BC and instead enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Losing Holloway means the departure of one of the more steady BC defensive players from the 2011 season, in addition to Luke Kuechly, who has already declared for the draft, and Donnie Fletcher, amongst others.

In his statement, Holloway said the following:

"“I love Boston College, and I have earned my degree. I’m excited about moving on to the next chapter in my life.”"

Most everyone knew that Luke Kuechly would leave a year early, and Eagles fans were aware of the seniors who would be leaving the school, but Max Holloway’s departure had not been widely considered. In fact, most every BC football fan was caught off-guard by the news that one of the more reliable defensive players will not return.

Part of the surprise has to do with the fact that his draft stock does not appear to be high despite his respectable BC career. There is a difference, however, between “respectable” and “NFL-caliber.” At this juncture, I do not believe he will be drafted; I would be legitimately surprised to see it happen.

We must look at what he said in his statement. Though there are only two sentences given to us, they reveal quite a bit. In it, Holloway mentions that he has his degree and that he is ready to move on. One would imagine that he is also well aware of the fact that he’s a longshot for the draft at best, but he has already been a student at BC for four years and, as such, has graduated. The inescapable conclusion one might reach here is that Holloway feels he paid his dues at BC, has no incentive to return, got what he came for (degree), and will take a stab at the draft for the hell of it, but is otherwise ready to turn the page.

Holloway could have returned for one more year if he so chose, and he has to know his odds of getting picked are presently nil, but he bailed anyway. The fact that he is declaring for the NFL Draft seems like a red herring, since he doesn’t figure to get drafted; declaring was more or less just a convenient “out.” This feels more like a “player quits football” type of story than a “player to realize pro dreams” take; take away the draft angle, because he won’t be, and what remains is a guy that left the team for whatever reason.

Granted, at this point we do not know if he has an agent or would consider returning to BC, but from the tone of his brief statement, I wouldn’t count on it.

Of course, BC fans will want to try to figure out why Holloway is leaving with a year of eligibility remaining and a very remote chance at being drafted. You have to admit, it is strange. It may be that he just wants to move on with his life (and his future plans don’t include a fifth year of college), he doesn’t want to play for BC anymore for a variety of reasons, or that he honestly believes he has a chance to get drafted. We don’t know, and we might never. Speculation is just that — speculation — but it will happen amongst BC fans nevertheless.

It’s clear that Holloway wanted out; as for WHY he wanted out, we don’t know. The vast majority of guys who have graduated but have a year of eligibility remaining don’t pass on it for a minute chance of getting drafted. Those who believe there might be more to the story could be right; it can’t be backed up by facts available to us, but it can’t be ruled out, nor can anything else. It could just be that Holloway is ready to move on from football and has a promising workplace career ahead of him, or there may be more going on behind the scenes. It is an interesting question that we can’t answer.

Whatever the case may be, all BC fans wish Max Holloway well, whether he goes to the pros or “goes pro in something other than sports,” as they say.