Four-star Holley Nears Decision

Brooklyn Abraham Lincoln four-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley is back from an official visit to Florida and nearing a decision as a big week of recruiting looms.

Thomas Holley is done with official visits, but a big week looms as the recruitment of the four-star defensive tackle from Brooklyn Abraham Lincoln winds down.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Holley already saw Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing and Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson come through this week, and Notre Dame will be in Friday.

However, the big day is Dec. 10, when Florida coach Will Muschamp and Lawing, and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and Johnson, will be on the Yankee Stadium sideline to see Holly face Staten Island Tottenville in the PSAL title game.

"Hopefully, a few days after that I will have a decision," Holley said. "We're just going to wait and see what happens and process everything. It's a tough decision."

After the game, Muschamp and Lawing will have an in-home with Holley and his family. Obrien and Johnson are also slated to have an in-home that day, but a time is yet to be worked out.

"What makes it a harder decision for me is there are many qualities each school has in common," Holley said. "I know coach Johnson was saying if I came in and worked hard, there is always that opportunity to come in and play as a freshman. It's a national degree, so there is a lot that is involved and a lot of similarities between the schools.

"Coach Johnson and Lawing are very similar. I have similar opportunities at each school."

Holley made October official visits to Penn State and Ohio State, and this past weekend he was in Gainesville to see the Gators for the first time since a summer unofficial visit.

"It was a really good visit, a really productive visit," he said. "I got to meet more of the players on the team. I got a chance to spend some time with coach Lawing and watched them in practice. I went to coach Muschamp's house and got an opportunity to talk to him, and coach Lawing, and see what their plan is for me.

"My mother, since she didn't get a chance to come with me during the unofficial visit, she got an opportunity to come to Florida and see the whole campus, meet with the academic advisors and got the opportunity to meet the person recruiting me and things like that."

Holley and his family also had a long meeting with Muschamp. "He was saying they just really need me there because they're really low on interior linemen," Holley said. "He said there is a great opportunity for me to be able to come in there and possibly start as a freshman, depending on my development. He said it's a national degree, and there is a whole bunch of opportunity there."

Holley used the visit to reconnect with some of the players he met during his unofficial visit, and he said he meshed well with them. He also enjoyed watching the Gators play, even though it resulted in a lop-sided loss to Florida State.

"I know at first there weren't that many people (in the stands), but I went to get something to drink and when I came back, it was like magic," he said. "A whole bunch of people popped up out of nowhere. It was loud, and even though they lost, they have very dedicated fans, and that's always good."

The result, and the disappointing season, has no impact on Holley's decision. He said a plethora of injuries makes left Florida short-handed.

"There is nothing they could really do about it," he said. "They just had to continue to play, and they played with heart, and they played with integrity. I was speaking with coach Lawing, and he said he couldn't really ask for anything more."

Although Syracuse was at Lincoln to see Holley on Monday, he isn't looking at the Orange much anymore, he said. Also, although the Irish will be on campus Friday, Holley doesn't see them as being a big player in his recruitment.

"It's difficult there," he said. "They are trying to get me to play nose tackle, and that's not really a position I want to play. I'll probably talk to them when they come up to the school and see what they have to say."

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