“I was wide eyed, unsure of myself and thinking I was gonna straight up flunk out of Stanford real quick,” said Stanford cornerback Alijah Holder. “It was hard coming in as a freshman.”
Despite struggling early on in his academics, Holder would get a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention as a junior. During his senior year, he ascended to the Pac-12 All-Academic second team.
Now on his fifth year of eligibility, he is working on a master’s degree in Media Studies. The tutelage from upperclassmen contributed to his successful strides in the classroom. They taught him how to receive help and how to manage his time properly.
“I think college for any person is gonna be tough,” he said. “I think we all get through it the same way and it’s through help and that through leadership of the older guys.”
After redshirting during his freshmen year, Holder had a productive sophomore season with 28 solo tackles of 37 total tackles and seven pass breakups. During their game against UCLA, Holder made an interception and ran it in for a 31-yard touchdown. Holder helped the Cardinal earn a Pac-12 title and landed three solo tackles in Stanford’s 45-16 victory over Iowa in the 2016 Rose Bowl.
As a junior, Holder made six pass breakups and led the team with seven tackles against USC. However, a leg injury would end his season after four games.
His senior season started on a high note when Holder had to compete against his twin brother Mikah when the Cardinal battled against the San Diego State Aztecs. Since Mikah is a wide receiver, there were some plays where Holder had to guard Mikah. Alijah felt he won the battle of guarding him, but lost the war as Stanford lost the game 20-17.
“He was trippin’ because he thought he caught six passes at the end of the game; he really caught one pass on me, I defended two of them,” Holder said. “I love playing against my brother Mikah, that was really just an awesome experience.”
Unfortunately, his senior season was cut short again when he sustained a leg injury in October 2017. A valuable piece of advice that helped Holder was to keep going.
“I’ve been through two season-ending injuries. At times it can seem like it’s so much easier just to lay down and quit,” he said. “I feel like persistence has been a key thing in my time at Stanford.”
Holder was born in Oceanside, CA where he attended Oceanside High School. In 2013, Holder was the team MVP for both football and track and field. He started on the varsity squad for three years and received All-CIF first team honors.