Holland (6-2, 320 lbs.) started in 30 games and appeared in 36 games on the Tarheels offensive line. He was a three-year starter at center that also saw time at guard early on in his career. Holland was a Rimington Award candidate (nation’s best center) in 2011.
The number to know with Holland is 1997 - the last year a North Carolina running back ran for over 1,000 yards until this past season. Holland and the Tarheels offensive line paved the way for running back Giovani Bernard as he ran for 1,253 rushing yards in 2011.
Chiefs Nation Should Know:
For seven straight carries to end the first half against the Miami Hurricanes, Giovani Bernard made his cut off a block thrown by Cam Holland.
The Tarheels’ running back darted up the middle and right by Holland on one play for a gain of six yards. On the following handoff, Bernard bounced outside on a counter trap play with Holland as his lead blocker and gained ten more yards, getting UNC in field goal range.
By the way the Tarheels’ ground game was working all season, no one could’ve guessed that Holland was playing hurt—especially Bernard, who averaged over five yards per carry as a true freshman last season.
Holland could barely bend over to tie his shoes because of a herniated disk in his back, but he played through an injury-riddled senior season.
Now at the next level, Holland thinks his new employer — the Kansas City Chiefs — appreciated the toughness he exhibited during that senior season.
“With injuries, you can either be a liability or someone with toughness,” said Holland. “I think they saw the toughness in me, and I think that’s why they picked me up.”
The acquisition of Holland could be more reward than risk for the Chiefs. Even with those injuries, Holland was still in the running for the Rimington Award given to the nation’s best center because of Bernard’s 1,253 rushing yards last season.
As Holland returned to form, the Tarheels improved. In his final home game against Duke, Holland was healthier and blocked for Bernard’s 30 carries and 165 rushing yards. He also excelled in pass blocking, giving sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner time to find receiver Dwight Jones for three touchdowns.
Holland is ready to play through pain again if that’s what it takes to make the Chiefs final roster.
“This is football, and injuries are a part of the game,” Holland said. “Everyone is banged up in the NFL, but how you play through those injuries and push yourself is what counts on this level.”