UMass football, basketball recruits talk school’s move to the MAC

CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 03-16-2024 10:41 AM

Modified: 03-16-2024 1:42 PM


With UMass’ move from the Atlantic 10 to the Mid-American Conference for the 2025-26 academic year, recruiting for football and men’s basketball is sure to change.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette caught up with Dajoure Hollingsworth, a football commit who plans to sign in Dec. 2024, and Luka Damjanac, a basketball commit who signed his NLI back in November.

Both players had previous ties to UMass and support the conference move.

“I looked into it,” Damjanac said. “The A-10 is a great conference, but so is the MAC, so I think they would do good in both conferences seeing how strong we are.”

UMass men’s basketball reached 20 wins this season for the first time since 2014 and earned the No. 4 seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

“I was like wow, that’s pretty good,” Hollingsworth added. “...We’re going to be on TV, ESPN, and all of that.”

Damjanac is rated as a three-star center by 247Sports and hails from Vienna, Austria; though he is originally from Bosnia. After moving over from Europe, he played a post-graduate season of basketball this year at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, where he was teammates with men’s basketball coach Frank Martin’s son, Christian. 

At WMA, Damjanac was coached by Mike Mannix, who worked under James “Bruiser” Flint as a student at UMass in the early 2000s and also serves as the head coach for The Commonwealth, a team made up primarily of UMass alums that plays in TBT.

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Hollingsworth is also rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports and is the younger brother of Jyree Roberts (UMass redshirt freshman linebacker) and Jerry Roberts, who graduated from UMass last year as its sixth-leading tackler. All three played football at Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pennsylvania. Hollingsworth, a 5-foot-9 175-pound running back, rushed for 1,576 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, earning Class 5A All-State honors.

Football head coach Don Brown initially recruited Jerry to Arizona when he served as the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator in 2021 and Jerry followed him to UMass last year for his final season of college football.

Hollingsworth always wanted to keep playing on the same team as Jyree and liked the connection his family had with Brown. Hollingsworth will join Roberts on the Minutemen roster after he completes a post-graduate semester at the Salisbury School in the fall of 2024. He “loves” that UMass is going to be playing for a conference championship now that they will no longer be an FBS independent.

Damjanac will join the Minutemen next season and said coaches have been telling him they see similarities with his game and Josh Cohen, who was named First-Team All-Atlantic 10 last week and has one remaining season of eligibility.

“I assumed it would be for the better,” Damjanac said. “If they’re switching, they would do it for a good reason.”