March 12, 2013
Division I college programs can thank mom for saying yes. At one time, Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Thomas Holley appeared to have a future playing basketball.
But at 6-5 and 290, playing football stayed in the picture. Holley definitely had the size to play on the defensive line. After much discussion - and probably some pleading - mom finally let her son give it a try in 2012. He had never played before.
Now, 15 offers later from the likes of Baylor, Alabama Florida, Notre Dame and everyone in the ACC, Holley is in a really good position. Baylor offered two weeks ago.
"I never expected my recruiting to take off as fast as it did,'' Holley said. "Right now, I'm wide open. I'm doing my research on these schools, and I'm going to go out there and look at some of these schools.
"I've always been a basketball player. My mom was scared because she didn't want me to get hurt. But I wanted to try something different. I think my strengths are my pure athleticism, speed and quickness. That combination will get schools to look at you.''
Obviously, you have to dominate at your matchup in order to legitimize the size. Holley has done that. While he doesn't have a rating yet, don't be surprised if the rating fits in line with the offers.
Holley transferred from Christ the King to Abraham Lincoln after his sophomore year. Once he put the pads on, the rest spoke for itself.
"Hitting came naturally for me,'' Holley said. "I had to learn a lot, and I have a lot more to learn but I really worked at this.''
Baylor assistant head coach Brian Norwood spoke with Holley last week. Holley said he is definitely interested in the Bears. In fact, his emergence could play into Baylor's favor. Since he is trying to learn a lot about these programs, he wants to visit some of them before he decides.
Holley is planning on some summer trips and Waco is likely going to be one of them.
"Traveling is not a problem for me,'' Holley said. "I want to see all the coaches, the programs and everything else. Coach Norwood talked to me about the new stadium being built. I know that program is getting better. But I want go on these trips to build firm relationships.
"What I want is for me to coached well and give myself a chance to play at the next - NFL - level. Academics are a big part of them. I just want the coaches to work with me and be honest with me.''
In the meantime, Holley is spending the offseason working on his agility and reducing his body fat to 10-15 percent. He plans on taking the SAT in May.
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