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James “Hot Hands” Holliday (Born September 9th, 1989) is an American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) and plays for the San Francisco 49ers. Mostly going unnoticed to NFL scouts during his time at San Jose State University, Holliday was drafted with the 32nd pick in the 7th round (256th overall) of the 2010 NFL draft, deeming him “Mr. Irrelevant” which is the nickname for the person who is drafted last.

As a junior, Holliday made the San Jose State football team as a walk-on and quickly made an impact.  In his debut game, Holliday tallied up 169 receiving yards along with 3 touchdowns to help the Spartans rally past the heavy favorite University of Southern California Trojans 38-32.  Holliday led SJSU to a 7-3 record, which earned the Spartans a birth in the Cotton Bowl.  Completing his junior season with 1,013 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, hot hands finished 4th in the Heisman trophy voting. 

Holliday’s senior season started off fast as he had 667 yards and 5 touchdowns through the first 6 games of the season.  His season would be cut short as he was kicked off of the team for an altercation with one of his coaches, in which Holliday broke the coaches orbital bone with multiple punches to the face.  His removal from the team resulted in Holliday dropping out of school to train for the NFL.

Due to what scouts referred to as a character issue, Holliday was drafted last in the 2010 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.  According to Holliday’s agent, James refused to play for the Browns, which ended up resulting in a last minute trade to the San Francisco 49ers.  Due to his character issues, draft experts predicted that Holliday would go undrafted, but his incredible 4.25 40-yard dash time at his pro day increased his draft stock significantly. 

Being drafted in the 7th round, Holliday was a long shot to make an NFL roster.  On the 49ers practice squad for the first 3 games of the 2010 season, Holliday was then activated to the active roster due to other player injuries.  Through the last 13 games of the 2010 season, Holliday would tally up 989 yards and 7 touchdowns, earning him AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

Since his rookie campaign, Holliday’s success on the field would continue as he led the 49ers to their first playoff birth in ten years in 2011.  Holliday has earned all-pro honors twice (2013, 2015) and has made the Pro Bowl in five out his seven seasons. 

Holliday would earn his notorious nickname “Hot Hands” in the 2012 NFC championship game where he made an incredible one handed catch that left viewers in awe.  Analysts and writers boasted on how the football seemed to melt to his hands whenever he attempted to catch the football. 

 -Josh Fowler 

Comm100w Spring 2017