Thursday, June 13, 2013
ESPN 150 DT Holley hits Sunshine State
By Jeff Barlis
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Like many a northerner, Thomas Holley is soaking up some sun on a summer visit to the state of Florida.
But there aren't any beaches on Holley's itinerary. No, this is a fact-finding mission for the ESPN 150 prospect from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln.
Holley visited Florida State on Wednesday, Florida on Thursday and plans to be on Miami's campus on Friday.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle, rated No. 8 in the nation at his position, found the first two stops to be a lot alike.
"Both of them are definitely great schools, very straight-forward, so I can't complain at all," he said on Thursday as he was leaving UF. "They're very similar. I liked both of them and will definitely have to try to come back.
"Just talking to the coaches, getting a feel for each coach, that was something I definitely liked. I talked to the head coaches of both schools, the defensive coach and a couple of other coaches, and they were just telling me their plans and traditions and things like that, where they see me playing, where they see me fitting in. Taking a tour of campus and talking to different people -- those were the parts I liked for both schools. There weren't too many things that separated them too much."
FSU and Florida even expressed the same desire to use Holley in multiple positions.
"Both see me playing D-tackle and possibly sliding around to end," he said.
After visiting Miami, Holley has plans to see Notre Dame later this month. He's making a concerted effort to see schools outside of his northeast region but says he still doesn't have any official visits in mind.
"These trips are definitely helping to plan that out, but that's later down the road," he said. "I'm just trying to find out what I like and don't like about a school."
One thing the Gators did to forge a stronger connection with Holley was to introduce him to senior Dominique Easley, a fellow New Yorker who also plays defensive tackle and defensive end.
"He's a cool guy," Holley said, "and I definitely can relate to him because he's from New York. He told me all about what he liked about the school."