Thomas Holley posing at the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game - Credit: @Holleylujahh

100 Days of Florida Football: No. 56 Thomas Holley

The last time a defensive tackle came to Florida from New York, it worked pretty well for the Gators. Dominique Easley came to UF four years ago and now it’s Thomas Holley‘s time. Holley will be looked upon to fill the void Easley left when he declared for the NFL draft. He may have been the last freshman to arrive on campus, but he could be the first one off the bench.

Rated as one of the top football prospects out of high school, Holley didn’t always play football. He originally played basketball at the same school former UF point guard Erving Walker attended, Christ the King in New York City. He was good enough to draw interest from college basketball programs when he was in middle school. But his senior year, he decided to transfer to Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn where he focused his attention to football.

The decision paid off for Holley as he had an outstanding senior season and became one of the most sought after recruits of the 2014 class. He racked up 60 tackles, seven sacks, and a fumble recover while leading Lincoln to an undefeated 2013 season and the Public Schools Athletic League City Championships. Holley played football competitively for the first time in his junior season at Christ the King. In five games, he notched 10 tackles, a sack, and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He played fullback and defensive tackle during those two years.

247 Sports composite rankings rate Thomas Holley as a four-star prospect (247 Sports gave him five-stars). He ranked as the fourth defensive tackle, second player in New York State, and the 77th overall recruit of the 2014 class. Holley originally committed to Penn State, but chose to change his decision less than a month before signing day. He participated in the 2014 Under Armor All-American game. Will Muschamp, D.J. Durkin, and Brad Lawing are all extremely happy he chose Florida over the seemingly endless offers he received. Holley picked UF over Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Florida State, and Clemson among over 20 schools.

Holley welcomes the Easley comparisons. Just take a look at what he tweeted out after Easley was taken by the Patriots in the first round of the NFL Draft:

Gators fans are hoping Holley will have the same effect Easley had on the football field. Those are some big shoes to fill, but the 6-3, 312 pound defensive tackle has the size to do it. I’m excited to see him on the field wearing No. 56 in the Orange and Blue in less than two months.

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Tags: Brad Lawing DJ Durkin Dominique Easley Erving Walker Florida Gators NFL Thomas Holley Will Muschamp

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