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Former local standouts Michael Pittman Jr., Darnay Holmes, Joshua Kelley drafted to NFL

Michael Pittman Jr., Darnay Holmes and Joshua Kelley were once local prep stars, now they’re fulfilling their dreams in the NFL.


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Dreams came true for former high school football standouts this past weekend. Most notably Michael Pittman Jr. from Oaks Christian, Darnay Holmes of Calabasas High and Eastside’s Joshua Kelley, who were all selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Pittman Jr. was selected in the second round (No. 34 overall) to the Indianapolis Colts. The USC wideout polished off an outstanding 2019 campaign with 101 catches, 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2015, Pittman Jr. caught 81 passes for 1,990 yards and 24 touchdowns for Oaks Christian and was named the 2015 Daily News Player of the Year after leading the Lions to a 10-0 regular season.

Oaks Christian receiver Michael Pittman Jr. is the 2015 Daily News Football Player of the Year. Pittman helped lead Oaks Christian to a 10-0 regular season and to the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division quarterfinals. Thursday, December 17, 2015. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker)

In Pittman Jr.’s final high school game, he tallied 354 receiving yards – third-best in state history – and five touchdowns on 16 catches in a Pac-5 quarterfinal loss to Bishop Amat.

Many analysts see 22-year old Pittman as delivering immediate impact to the Colts offense after acquiring new quarterback Philip Rivers this offseason.

Holmes, a former Calabasas High standout, got drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round (110 overall) out of UCLA. The cornerback has always been known for his versatility. Holmes scored five touchdowns in four different ways for the Coyotes in the program’s first-ever CIF championship in 2015.

Holmes played in 35 games with 33 starts in his three-year UCLA career, leading the team in interceptions each season. He totaled 121 tackles, eight interceptions, 28 pass deflections and three touchdowns.

UCLA running back Joshua Kelley was also drafted by the Giants at No. 112. Kelley’s story may be the best of the local selections after coming from Eastside High in Lancaster. Kelley went to UC Davis to play football before transferring to UCLA. The tight-knit community of the Antelope Valley praised Kelley’s selection with the hashtag #DirtMade, insinuating that athletes from the area are underrated.

Kelley rushed for 1,469 yards and scored 22 total touchdowns for Eastside in 2014.