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Hollman steps into leadership role with UT cornerbacks

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University of Toledo senior cornerback Ka’dar Hollman came to Toledo in the same class as Trevon Mathis in 2014.

While Hollman redshirted his first year with the Rockets, Mathis beat him onto the field. Hollman made it his mission to watch Mathis and study his every move.

Last season when Mathis — who recently was cut from the Minnesota Vikings after signing as an undrafted free agent — was a senior, Hollman paid close attention even as he lined up opposite Mathis as a starter at the position.

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Toledo's Ka'dar Hollman intercepts a pass intended for VMI receiver Javeon Lara during Saturday's game at the Glass Bowl.

BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

“Me and Trevon, we came in together, but I got redshirted,” Hollman said. “He got on the field before me, so I just used to watch how he did things. When I got on the field, it was easier for me. Then senior year, you’ve got a lot of pressure on you. So I got to see him go through that and how he handled that.”

Now Hollman hopes he can develop his leadership skills as he sets the tone for some young players at the position, including sophomore Justin Clark, sophomore Samuel Womack, and redshirt freshman DeAmonte King.

“This is my fifth year, so I feel like out of everybody, I’ve been through the most experiences,” Hollman said. “So I can help them on things that they are going to see throughout their coming years. I feel like I’ve been helping them go in the right direction and the right path so they can have the best season and best career that they can have.”

Hollman started all 14 games last season at cornerback and recorded 35 tackles, seven pass breakups, and one interception.

As a sophomore in 2016, Hollman started eight games and recorded 33 tackles and eight pass breakups.

He said he has enjoyed working with new cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat, who is entering his second season with the Rockets. Poteat, who played for five different teams in his 10-year NFL career, has plenty of experience to draw upon as he leads a talented group of cornerbacks.

“Coach Poteat, that is really somebody that I consider a mentor to me,” Hollman said. “He really leveled my game up a lot. As a person and a coach, he is someone that is going to make you better on and off the field. That’s definitely been somebody that has really been in my corner, and I’m glad he became my coach.”

Under Poteat’s guidance last season, the Rockets ranked second in the Mid-American Conference in pass efficiency defense.

While Hollman admitted there is added pressure for a player in his senior season, he said he hopes to approach this season as he would any other.

“I approach it the same as any other year,” Hollman said. “I’m just going to go hard and be with my team, and we are going to go about every day like it’s the last and just keep going.”

Most of all for Hollman, after a MAC title for the team last season, he is ready to begin a quest for a repeat.

“If anything, we are going to go harder,” Hollman said. “During my past seasons, we were always the ones chasing a MAC championship and we wanted it real bad. Now that we actually got it, we don’t want to give it up. We want to defend the title and win it again. I feel like once you get a taste of something, you want it again, so you work harder for it.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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