ALBANY — Dev Holmes is back with the UAlbany football program.
The former Troy High School star confirmed that Thursday night in a social-media post, and UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso did the same Friday.
“I think he’s worthy of a second chance,” Gattuso said Friday morning during an appearance on “Big Board Sports” on ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team (WTTM-FM).
Holmes, Gattuso said, will rejoin UAlbany as a walk-on for his redshirt sophomore season, and will work toward regaining his scholarship for his final two seasons with the Great Danes in 2021 and 2022.
“He’s got to earn his way,” said Gattuso, whose program finished 9-5 last season and won its first-ever FCS playoff game.
Holmes was suspended after the Great Danes’ third game of the 2019 season and left the program after the team’s fourth game. According to a UAlbany athletic department spokesman, Holmes was enrolled throughout the fall semester at UAlbany.
Holmes was expected to transfer to continue his college career, but instead announced Thursday night on Instagram that he’d rejoin the Great Danes and “Finish What I Started at UAlbany,” as part of the post reads.
Beyond his social-media post, Holmes could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Holmes starred early in his freshman season for UAlbany, but his production decreased as defenses focused more attention on him. After registering 734 yards as a freshman, Holmes only had six receptions for 36 yards in UAlbany’s first three games of the 2019 season, which were the only ones Holmes played in before his suspension and — as it turns out, temporary — departure from the program.
Gattuso didn’t answer questions related to what caused Holmes’ suspension — “Between Dev and I,” Gattuso said at the time — but the coach had acknowledged prior to the suspension that he knew Holmes was “frustrated” with the way his season had started.
After Holmes left the team in September, Gattuso said: “He’s not happy and wanted to leave the program, so I wish him well. He’s a kid I really like and I hope he does well. I hope he finds the happiness he’s looking for.”
In a statement released Friday through UAlbany's athletic department, Gattuso said: "Dev recently came to me about the possibility of returning to the UAlbany football team. After a series of meetings with my athletic director, coaches and leaders of our football team, we agreed that Dev deserved a second chance and would be given the opportunity to rejoin the team as a walk-on. Dev is a great student who wants to earn a degree from UAlbany, and do so as a member of the football team. I’m big on second chances under the right circumstances. I like Dev, and I think he has great potential. I think the opportunity for Dev to earn his way back on this football team is something everyone is in favor of."
In Friday’s radio appearance, Gattuso said “the response has been positive” related to Holmes’ rejoining the Great Danes.
“Everybody likes Dev,” Gattuso said. “That’s not an issue.”
UAlbany was 1-2 in games Holmes played last season, while it was 8-3 following Holmes’ suspension prior to the fourth game. There is a natural role, though, for Holmes to fill as the Great Danes move forward. The program’s top receivers — Juwan Green and Jerah Reeves — were both seniors, and UAlbany has a need at the position for 2020.
Gattuso said Holmes was not the first player to earn a second chance from the coach. Among others, Gattuso said a “similar situation” once played out with Reeves.
“I gave him a second chance and he took that second chance and became . . . as good as anyone in our conference,” Gattuso said.
“There’s no guarantees,” Gattuso said.
Holmes will be a redshirt sophomore for the 2020 season because he didn’t play in more than four games during the 2019 campaign.
“I think this can work out for him,” Gattuso said.