Keylon Hollis is noticing opposing offenses paying a lot more attention to him as he lines up with his Bakersfield College teammates.
Hollis is the Renegades' strongest pass rusher, who relishes the opportunity to create havoc with opposing quarterbacks.
"It's pretty fun just getting to the quarterback," said Hollis, a sophomore defensive end who had 11.5 sacks for BC last season and leads the team with five this season.
Hollis and the rest of the Renegades travel to El Camino today for a 6 p.m. non-conference game.
The Renegades are 3-2 overall (1-1 National Northern Conference) while El Camino is 2-3 after losing 17-6 last week against L.A. Harbor.
"I can feel it," said Hollis, 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds. "They all look at where I go on the field."
Hollis has played in only four of BC's games this season. He was suspended for the opener as a result of an on-field fight in the final game last season against Canyons when he was ejected. His season debut was in BC's second game, when he had a sack and six tackles in the Renegades' 34-14 loss to Mount San Antonio.
“The Mount SAC game was pretty hard, having to adjust to all the speed and everything,” Hollis said. “I was real rusty. But now, I feel comfortable.”
He had two sacks in each of BC’s next two games, against Fullerton and Ventura, but was held without a sack in Saturday’s 45-7 win over Canyons.
“They only had a few five-step drops, the rest were three-steps so it was hard to get to him,” Hollis said.
El Camino’s quarterback, Jesse Scroggins, is a bounce-back from USC who has thrown for 788 yards with five touchdown passes. But El Camino quarterbacks have been sacked 10 times for 71 yards in losses this season.
“Hopefully we can confuse him a little bit,” BC coach Jeff Chudy said.
Hollis was a first-team all-state player last season, which earns a player junior college All-American status.
“He really came on as the season progressed,” Chudy said.
It’s easy to see the key to Hollis’ pass-rushing success, Chudy said.
“He’s extremely powerful,” he said. “Look between his hip and his kneecap. His lower body is very strong. He has a low center of gravity and is extremely explosive off the snap.”
That explosiveness and strength makes up for any disadvantage his relative lack of height presents, Chudy said.
Hollis said he had never left Houston in his life before coming to BC prior to last season. His coach at Cypress Creek High heard about BC during a football clinic at the University of Nevada.
“My coach talked to coach Chudy and (Chudy) saw my film,” Hollis said.
The clip from his high school competition impressed Chudy enough to invite Hollis to BC.
“They said he was a heck of a pass rusher, and the kid also ran on their 4-by-200 relay team,” Chudy said. “He looked like a human wrecking ball in high school. Guys would run a counter at him and he’d blow guys up.”
“My teammates became my family,” Hollis said.
Now he wants to stay in California.
“The weather here is way, way better,” Hollis said, noting the lack of humidity compared to Houston. “It’s hot here, but it’s hot like it is in the morning in Houston.”
Hollis said his goal after football is to join the service, preferably the Navy.