Carroll County native Lucas Holder has been honored by the Big South Conference for both his brain and his brawn.
A junior from Hillsville, Holder has been named as the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Additionally, the 6-4, 295-pounder earned a spot on the 2016 Big South All-Conference Football team as an offensive lineman for the Liberty Flames (6-5).
Holder is just the fourth player in Liberty football history to be named Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the second offensive lineman in three years (joining Mitch Hanson in 2014). A two-year starter, Holder started the first 10 games of the 2016 before missing the season finale against Coastal Carolina with an ankle injury.
A versatile athlete, Holder started at three different positions on the offensive line in 2016. He graded out as Liberty’s second highest offensive lineman this year and ranked second on the team in knockdowns. Holder has only given up one-half sack in over 1,000 collegiate snaps.
Holder completed his undergraduate degree in government in two-and-a-half years, finishing with a 3.69 GPA. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy: public administration and holds a 3.90 GPA. Last month, Holder was named to the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District team. He plans on pursuing a second master’s degree in business administration before graduating from the Lynchburg school.
“I was totally blessed and humbled that they named me the Scholar Athlete of the Year. Doing the math, there are six teams in the Big South with probably 100 people on each team, so to be the only person out of 600 to get that honor is pretty amazing,” Holder said. “Hard work has definitely paid off for me. I’m happy for the positive influences in my life – my parents, my older brother pushing to do well in school, my grandparents. They taught me to never be stagnant and never accept average and never be happy with a B and striving to be the best I can be in every aspect of life, so I am thankful for them.”
It’s a lesson he certainly has taken to heart. Having finished his undergraduate and master’s degree in three-and-a-half years, Holder will now be aiming for three degrees in four-and-a-half years – all while balancing academics with the physical demands of playing major college football. Next year will be his senior season on the gridiron for the Flames.
“I am trying to go to law school after that,” Holder said. “It would be the first time in my life I would be just a student. I am pretty excited about that, dedicating all my time toward school.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN