Penn State received an early Christmas gift when highly touted prospect Thomas Holley announced he committed to the Nittany Lions!
(Photo: Anthony J. Caus)
As we all know, Penn State football has recently gone through some dark times due to the injustice of the unjustified sanctions on the program the NCAA placed upon them. But somehow, someway, Head Coach Bill O'Brien and company have exceeded expectations for the football program, regardless of the sanctions! Since the sanctions were handed down two years ago, Penn State has probably had a more difficult time in trying to get recruits to come play for them more than any other university. Despite being with limited scholarships, Penn State has still managed to come away with above average recruiting classes, and now the Nittany Lions have come away with arguably their best recruit to date when they landed Defensive Tackle Thomas Holley!
Holley is one of the more highly touted prospects at his position for the 2014 class! ESPN has him ranked #87 of the top 300 prospects, and #7 overall at his position along with a 4 star rating! Scout.com also has him listed as a 4 star rating, but 247sports.com has him listed as a 5 star recruit and the 5th best overall Defensive Tackle prospect. What and however way you look at it, Penn State has landed a very huge prospect, in more ways than one! Holley, who has a 6ft. 4in. frame to go with his near 300lb. body weight, Holley has the strength to go with it! I could not find anything for search results for lifting numbers, so I took to Twitter and tweeted Holley himself and asked him his bench and squat numbers. Holley reported to me a 390lb. Bench and 560lb. Squat! (See Below)
Though not the fastest guy (a 5.19 40 Time according to this link http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/2305863/thomas-holley ) Holley has great pursuit of the ball by bringing good pressure that allows him to plug up holes and cause the opposing offense's pocket to quickly collapse. Because Holley is so quick at getting past the line, he is able to make a play on the Quarterback and/or ball carrier for a big play!
Holley's awareness of what is going on around him on the field is another strength that he constantly displays. Holley does not over commit on a play, as he showcases good patience to see where the ball is to give him the best chance of making a play on it! If the QB is throwing, he is quick to get his hand up to cause a pass deflection, or if a running back gets the ball he will quickly retreat from the blocker and tackle the ball carrier and prevent him from making a big gain!
One downside I guess you could maybe say for that of Holley is still a little green, as he has only played football since his junior year. But even the lack of experience, Holley caught onto football very fast, and his background in basketball certainly helped, which will help with his vertical and ability to break up passes! Overall the Nittany Lions recruited a "steal" more or less, as Holley is a natural at football despite not having the years of experience. With the proper coaching at Penn State, Holley's potential may allow him to become a household name and perhaps eventually turning the heads of all NFL Scouts in the future!
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