It's become expected that anytime the Ohio State Buckeyes pursue any non-Ohio prospect and offer him a scholarship, they will have to immediately battle against the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Florida and many, many other elite schools across the nation for that prospect's services. This certainly holds true for the 247Sports' Composite-ranked 60th best player in the country, defensive tackle Thomas Holley.
Holley hails from Abraham Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, NY) and measures at 6-4, 285 pounds. Ever since being exposed to the national recruiting scene, Holley's stock has steadily risen, once being ranked a 3-star recruit by most websites and now a sure-fire 4-star recruit. In fact, a few days ago, Rivals re-evaluated their '14 recruiting ratings and rankings. As a result, Holley soared from a 3-star to a 4-star and found himself in the Rivals Top 100, checking in as the 84th best prospect. in the nation. Putting together all recruiting services' evaluations of Holley, 247Sports' Composite Rankings not only lists him as the 60th best player in the country, but also as the 3rd best defensive tackle in the country and the best player from New York.
As the recruiting rankings seem to indicate, Ohio State's interest in Holley is very high, as yesterday coach Ed Warinner visited Abraham Lincoln to watch Holley practice. Gauge where Holley stands for yourself, as he and I discussed his past season, his best relationships with coaching staffs pursuing him, his visit plans, and the "high possibility" that he uses one of his five official visits on Ohio State:
How was your junior season at Abraham Lincoln?
It went better than I thought it would. I really picked up my game and improved overall. I had a lack of experience playing football, but I think I performed very well. Everyday, I applied myself and learned. Everything became easier and I got a real feel for the position and game.
What is your biggest strength on the field?
I am able to get off the ball very fast. I'm able to move from sideline to sideline and follow wherever the ball goes. Wherever the play is at, you'll always see me around and in the backfield blowing up the play.
What part of your game do you need to work on the most?
People have been saying that I need to use my hands more. Lately, I've been practicing that with my coaches and improving greatly.
Let's get into your recruitment now. What are the main schools currently recruiting you, if you had to name some of the many that are?
Alabama, Florida State, Miami, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Ohio State, Clemson, and South Carolina.
Of all the schools recruiting you, what are your top schools?
I don't have a top list of schools right now. In the summertime, I plan on making visits and naming a top list of schools then.
Of all the schools, which coaching staffs do you have the best relationships with?
Alabama, Florida State, Miami, Penn State, and Ohio State.
What exactly are you looking for in a school?
The academics of the school and also making sure that they have my major. The athletic support is also important to me because I know I'll have a busy schedule in college between football and classes. I want a great environment that I can be in for the next three to four years. Last, I'm looking for a coaching staff that can develop me and prepare me for the next level.
What do you like specifically about Ohio State?
It's known as a school with great football, tradition, academics, and a nice environment. It stands out to me.
Who is the main coach from Ohio State recruiting you? How often do you speak, and what do you guys talk about?
Coach [Ed] Warinner. Lately, I haven't had a chance to speak with him because I've been busy with school and football. But we speak pretty often for the most part. He tells me about Ohio State, how much he wants me at Ohio State, and the plan for success that Ohio State has in the coming years.
When do you plan on visiting Ohio State?
This summer. I'm not sure the exact date, but I'm for sure trying to visit.
What college visits have you taken so far?
I've only been to Rutgers, Penn State, and Boston College. I'm looking to visit a lot more schools in the summertime.
Will Ohio State be one of your official visits next fall?
It's very possible. I'd say Ohio State has a high possibility of me taking an official there.
Watch what Holley would bring to the Buckeyes below: