Darnay Holmes is not your average 22-year old.
The New York Giants rookie is wise beyond his years. As a UCLA graduate, Holmes completed his degree in just 2.5 years, which is why it’s so hard to believe that between his time as a starter for the Bruins plus an accelerated academic workload he managed to find any free time. But, he did.
Holmes also started his own foundation, Chosen 1, which is a mentorship program for at-risk youth. But his accomplishments on- and off-the-field aren’t the only things that make Darnay such an impressive person. It’s the unwavering belief he has in himself, his compassion for others, and his relentless dedication to better his best.
Darnay is the kind of person who shows time-and-time again that he will always rise to the occasion—no matter what.
There aren’t many college students who can say they would happily welcome their mom as a third roommate due to difficult circumstances, or pay their sister’s insurance bills, or dedicate their free time to mentoring kids.
But, his selflessness and commitment to bettering himself, and those around him, are just an innate piece of Darnay’s identity.
When asked what he believes is the reason for his unshakable confidence, he said, “...In life you gotta build things, and just like how a lot of people are into building their social media following, build your faith. Build your belief. Because at the end of the day, you can't cash in on followers, but you can deposit that faith to make an impact on your life, and an impact on those around you.”
We talked with Darnay about bouncing back from injury, how he’s preparing for the upcoming NFL season, and his pre-workout training secrets.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges in your career so far?
Going into my junior year, I was highly rated and I thought it was going to be the year I would really go to the next level. But, as God planned it, I got hurt before the start of the season and things weren't as glitz and glamour as I thought.
I had to contemplate whether to stay another year or even declare. But, as I continued to grow and read and let time unfold to the present moment, I was able to really bet on myself and understand that even if I didn't have the year I wanted to have, it was the year that I needed to have.
How did you bounce back?
Being injured on the sideline, seeing us lose to opponents we shouldn't have lost to was definitely frustrating. I came back way earlier than I was supposed to and I wasn't playing as well as I was supposed to play. I had to learn to listen to my body rather than react to emotion and be more practical and logical about my recovery.
How are you preparing for the transition of college football to the NFL?
Going into college, I wasn't a reader, I wasn't a chess player, and I wasn't a person who was tapped into my own state of mind. I played off my talent. But, at the end of the day, relying on talent is really just shying away from my potential. So, in a lot of ways, I actually feel like I'm more prepared today than I was for college because I've tapped into so many things outside of football that make me a better player.
What’s one thing you do to better yourself every day?
Every day, I wake up and read two devotions from the Bible to renew my spirit and try to apply it throughout my day. Routines may feel redundant, but they’re needed to be ready for what's coming in life. You never know what's gonna come, but, if you have a great state of mind and an awareness, then you can always lean on that wisdom to be prepared for what’s next.
What was the inspiration behind starting your foundation Chosen 1?
People promote being “self-made,” but I didn't get to where I am on my own. A lot of people helped me get here and helped me believe that I have the ultimate source inside to take on anything.
Chosen 1 was inspired by the belief that everyone has a calling and a purpose, but not everybody has the resources. So, it's about providing kids with opportunities and encouragement to have great things happen and really challenge them. It’s about allowing kids to understand that they may come from a tough situation, but that situation is inspiring and beautiful, and it can be used to uplift and empower them.
What’s something you do to relax?
In the morning, I do seventeen quick, deep breaths, in and out, to work on controlling my breathing. I feel like that helps me stay relaxed throughout the day, or I do a 15- to 20-minute guided meditation.
Favorite Ladder supplement?
My “secret” mix is combining the Strawberry Lemonade Pre-Workout with the Lemon Lime Hydration in water and drinking a bottle before each workout. The flavors go well together and that way I have the energy to go hard for the full workout while ensuring I never need to worry about getting dehydrated.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year—athletically and personally?
Athletically, I hope to be Rookie Of the Year for the defensive side of the ball and to be a starter. Outside of football, I want to see the impact of my foundation, changing a kid’s way of life, seeing that beautiful smile on kids faces when they have something that maybe they couldn’t have had otherwise because of their placement in the world.
The song on your workout playlist you can’t get enough of right now.
Right now, it would be the throwback YoungBoy “Untouchable.” Yeah, that’s some heat.
What’s your cheat meal?
Chick-Fil-A. I get the Deluxe sandwich, a large crispy fry with the Polynesian sauce, and an Oreo shake.