(Photo: Tom Loy — @TomLoy247, 247Sports)

 

Former Notre Dame running back CJ Holmes is enrolled at Penn State and will be joining the team for the upcoming season, sources have confirmed to Lions247 with Fight on State. The former four-star prospect was present at the Nittany Lions’ Lift for Life charity event over the weekend. Lions247 first reported the news on the Lions' Pride message board on Saturday.

The nation’s No. 19 running back and No. 245 overall prospect out of Cheshire Academy in Connecticut in the Class of 2017, Holmes was dismissed from the program in South Bend after a shoplifting charge. Holmes and teammate Kevin Stephenson were suspended indefinitely before the Citrus Bowl and then removed from the roster in January.

Holmes played in eight games as a true freshman for the Fighting Irish last season, carrying eight times for 32 yards against North Carolina in October. Those would be his only carries of the season.

Penn State recruited Holmes as a wide receiver out of high school. The 6-foot, 200-pound prospect visited a few times but committed to the Fighting Irish the summer before his senior season. He ran 142 times for 1,169 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in his final season at Cheshire Academy.

Sources have indicated that Holmes will have to walk-on at Penn State, but due to NCAA rules he will have to sit out the 2018 season following a transfer from another FBS institution. He has yet to be added to the official roster and a position has not be clarified. Holmes has played running back, wide receiver and defensive back during his football career.

“I saw Holmes play his senior year and I always wondered what his best position would be,” said 247Sports’ Brian Dohn. “Is he a running back, a receiver or a safety? He was the true definition of an athlete. What really stood out to me was his ability to start, stop, accelerate and change direction. He also had sneaky speed.

“I think he’s a kid that once Penn State figures out exactly where to use him he has a chance to make a big impact because he can do different things and create matchup problems.”

Numbers at running back for the 2019 season indicate that Holmes’ presence would be a welcome addition to the position room. The Nittany Lions will lose Mark Allen and Johnathan Thomas to graduation after this season and are set to return just three scholarship running backs next year, in addition to bringing in four-star back Devyn Ford out of Virginia. The Nittany Lions are still pursuing a second running back in the 2019 class as well.

Holmes was on campus at Penn State this spring as the Nittany Lions explored the possibility of bringing him on board. His younger sister Alexis signed with Penn State Track and Field in November and will join the team this fall as a sprinter.