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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Whirlwind recruitment for ESPN 150 DT

By Jared Shanker

Thomas Holley’s recruitment has been a lot like his most recent visit.

The ESPN 150 defensive tackle out of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln was at Penn State for the annual spring game, which was hampered by every weather condition imaginable.

“It did a little bit of everything -- rain, snow, everything -- it was crazy,” Holley said.

The first few months of his recruitment have been the same. Holley, No. 93 in the ESPN 150, has seen it all in a short time. He went from basketball prospect to first-year football player to playing just a handful of games to landing his first offer. Now he is an Under Armour All-American with more than 20 offers.

The programs the No. 8 defensive tackle talks to the most can vary as much as the State College climate.

“I talk to some coaches a lot sometimes and other coaches other times,” he said. “I keep in touch with Coach [Mario] Cristobal from Alabama, Coach [Sal] Sunseri from Florida State, Coach [Ed] Warinner from Ohio State, Coach [Larry] Johnson from Penn State, Coach [Jim] Panagos from Rutgers, he hits me up on Twitter every day.

“Everyone is recruiting me really hard.”

Johnson, the Nittany Lions’ defensive line coach, made an impression on Holley while on his visit a few weekends ago. Johnson was influential in the recruitment of former ESPN 150 defensive end Ishaq Williams, who hails from the same school as Holley. Williams eventually chose Notre Dame over Penn State.

Watching Johnson coach up the defensive line was only a small part of the takeaway for Holley, though.

“Coach Johnson, his coaching style is really good,” Holley said. “The intensity of the guys, they’re teammates but they go hard every play. At the spring they had 50,000 people in there. That’s crazy, so imagine when it’s a real game.”

Holley will cut his list at the end of the summer most likely, and the Lions are in good standing.

“Definitely Alabama, Miami, Florida State, Penn State,” Holley said as to the teams that will be on his short list, “a couple other schools I want to do more research on. ... I’ll take my officials and have my decision by midseason or end of the season.”