Thomas Holley to Penn State: Nittany Lions Land 4-Star DT Prospect

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2013

Photo courtesy of 247Sports

Penn State added to an already strong recruiting class by grabbing a commitment from defensive tackle Thomas Holley.

Mike Farrell of first broke the news of the young player's decision:

Tim Owen of explained the importance of Holley's commitment to Penn State:

Prior to announcing his commitment to Penn State, Holley discussed what it would mean for his future to play for defensive line coach Larry Johnson, courtesy of Julian Garcia of the New York Daily News:

Holley seems particularly enamored with Johnson’s track record of sending players to the NFL. His son is former Kansas City Chiefs star running back Larry Johnson.

“That’s where I wanna get (the NFL), and if he’s a person who can get me there and have me prepared better than another person, then why not?” Holley said.

Playing his football at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York, Holley has shot up the rankings due to his elite natural ability. According to 247 Sports' Composite Rankings, the 4-star recruit is the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 61 overall player in the 2014 class. 

At 6'4", 285 pounds, he has the size to clog the middle of the field on defense, giving opponents nowhere to run in the middle of the field. He can also take on blockers and force double teams to give teammates an opportunity to make plays. 

Additionally, he has the strength and speed to penetrate into the backfield and disrupt the offensive game plan, even when he does not get to the opposing quarterback.

Of course, he is still extremely raw and might need some time before contributing at the next level. Not only will he need to improve his technique, but he also must put on some weight before competing in the trenches. 

Still, the raw talent is there for Holley to have a successful career with the Nittany Lions. He has tons of pure athleticism, and his relative lack of experience shows that he has tons of room to grow. By the time he is an upperclassman, he has the potential to be one of the best in college football at his position. 

ESPN recruiting nation agreed with the potential, providing this analysis (subscription required):

Holley is a promising prospect. Has a lot of work to do, but has very good size and natural ability. He's taking to the game well and looks to be making quick progress. A player with very good upside and he should continue to make noticeable strides with continued reps and experience. This DT is someone to keep an eye on.

Holley becomes a big addition for Penn State to help out on the defensive side of the ball for the next few seasons.


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