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Avondale quartet make their college choices WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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Holloman, Russ, Saunders, Battle attach their signatures

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AUBURN HILLS -- Friends, family and classmates gathered in the Avondale High School library made for a sizeable gathering of humanity.

In fact, it was almost standing room only for the crowd, who were in the library not for reading purposes, but to witness the official signing for collegiate athletics for a quartet of standout student-athletes.

Joshuwa Holloman, Jalen Saunders, Tiroca Battle, a trio of football players, and Stuart Russ, a soccer player made their commitments official with interested observers everywhere.

Holloman signed with Cincinnati, Saunders is headed for Northern Michigan University, Battle will play at Wayne State and Russ will join the Madonna University soccer team.

Holloman, a standout running back for the Yellow Jackets who had recruitment inquiries from coast to coast, was a prime recruit for a number of major schools, including those from the Pac 12, Big Ten, ACC and SEC. But he settled on Cincinnati mainly because the Bearcats were truthful from the start.

“He’s got all these accolades and people have been looking at him for years,” Avondale football coach Steve Deutsch said. “He’s handled it with class.”

Holloman, a three-year starter on the football team and two-time all league selection, is one of the fastest athletes in the state. A two-time state champion in the 100-meter dash, Holloman was a member of Avondale’s Division 2 state championship track team a few seasons ago.

He plans on doing both sports at Cincinnati where the challenge will be twofold at the NCAA Division I level. “I do understand that,” said Holloman, who plans to major in business management,, “but they want me to do that.”

Holloman, who has gone as fast as 4.26 in the 40-yard dash, was emotional in acknowledging coaches, supporters “and dad (Willie Holloman Jr.) … I love you so much,” he said.

Saunders, a wide receiver, will be going as far north as possible without leaving the state as he heads to the Northern Michigan campus in Marquette. But he won’t be intimidated by deep snow stories.

“I’ve been living in Michigan for a while (so) it’s not going to be that much worse,” said Saunders.

Battle was a standout defensive lineman for Avondale and a major contributor during his career. Deutsch said Battle could see lots of playing time as he develops under the Wayne State program.

Russ, who plans on majoring in business management, was a four-year varsity starter on the Yellow Jackets’ soccer team and played on the 2011 state championship squad.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out to this,” said Russ, a team captain and an all-state selection the past two seasons.

Keith Gust, athletic director at Avondale, spoke highly of the four recruits. “Everyone up here said something about their faith, that speaks a lot about these guys,” he said.

Last Updated: 2/4/2015 9:08:53 PM EST

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