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Friday, April 12, 2013
N.Y. DT Holley could be going back to Cali

By Jared Shanker

Basketball brought Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln) to California first. Football could bring him back.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound defensive tackle has seen his stock skyrocket since December, and USC became one of the latest schools to offer the Under Armour All-American.

“Beautiful,” Holley said of his first experience in California, which was for a basketball camp in eighth grade. “I can’t put it any other way.”

Lincoln high school coach Shawn O’Connor talked with the Trojans staff earlier Wednesday, and he let Holley know USC was interested in talking with him. So Holley called the number of new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

Pendergast just saw Holley’s limited highlight tape, which consists of only seven games. Holley did not play football before this season, and his junior year was cut short by Superstorm Sandy. Holley said Pendergast told him he envisions Holley as being a major part of the Trojans program.

“[The offer] is huge, because they have great football tradition and a great environment,” Holley said, “and it’s a big scholarship because from what I heard they don’t recruit outside of California. It’s amazing.”

A few hours after USC offered, Holley spoke with Vanderbilt assistant Charles Walker, who also extended a scholarship.

“He was extremely fired up about it, can’t wait to get me down there,” Holley said.

The last visit for Holley was a few weekends ago when he visited Boston College. Holley enjoyed talking with coach Steve Addazio and his staff about the school’s academics and the program.

The Eagles have been at the bottom of the ACC the last few years, and Addazzio was hired in December to reconstruct a program that at one point in 2007 was sitting at No. 2 in the BCS rankings. Following his visit, Holley believes Addazio has the right blueprint to get the Eagles back to an ACC championship game.

“Even though they had a downfall the past two years, they’re rebuilding things,” Holley said. “They’re the underdogs, but they still go hard.”

More visits will eventually come for Holley, although nothing is set. He wants to visit as many schools to offer as possible -- 20 in all -- and names Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and USC as places he definitely would like to see. He knows time and money are an issue, so he might not be able to make as many visits as he would like.

He wants to narrow his list during the summer after making visits, and he suspects those same schools he wants to visit are the ones who will make the cut.

Notre Dame landed Class of 2011 ESPN 150 member Ishaq Williams out of Abraham Lincoln, but Holley was not enrolled at the school while Williams was. He said he hopes to talk to Williams about Notre Dame soon, though, and that could happen the next time Williams returns to New York or Holley visits South Bend.