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Top 70 MAC Football Players: #17 Nate Holley (FS- Kent State Golden Flashes)

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After an impressive sophomore season, the undersized safety has made a name for himself on a young team. Can he help vault the Golden Flashes back into the MAC East race?

David Dermer (Kent State Athletics)

When you look at Nate Holley, you may not be immediately blown away.  At 5'11", he doesn't scream size and intimidation.  However, when you see him play, you see why he's one of the best safeties in the MAC.

Originally from Toledo, Holley slipped through a few local MAC schools to land at Kent State, right in the middle of their dominance from the Darrell Hazell era.  He was a do-it-all guy, leading his defense to a State Title Game appearance while also handling wide receiver, punt returning, and even punting(!) duties.

With the Golden Flashes, he's had to anchor a secondary that must stop some of the most potent aerial attacks in the country.  And he's done it.  After getting spot playing time early on, he made a name for himself as a freshman against Ohio, when he made 12 tackles to lead the team.

Last year, he followed that up by being a complete defensive leader....as a sophomore.  He ended last year with 137 total tackles (second-most in the MAC) with 75 of those being solo tackles (led MAC) and led the conference with an average 12.5 tackles per game. His single game LOW for tackles was 9 (three times), and had 14 or more tackles five times last year en route to a 1st Team All-MAC selection.  He's now a key player in the conference, and is looking to lead the Golden Flashes back to the high level of play that they were at when he initially came to Kent State.