SU Battles Big Boys for NYC’s Holley, Who Wants to Become “Dominant”

The big defensive lineman admits even he’s surprised at the interest he’s created nationally,

Six months ago, most colleges didn’t know Thomas Holley’s name. Now the 6’4” 290 lb. defensive end from Brooklyn has 23 offers to show off. Holley has received letters from schools like Notre Dame, Alabama, USC and Florida.

The Brooklyn native talked with The Fizz about his continuous wild ride through the recruiting process. For someone who didn’t even take up the game of football until his junior year at Lincoln High School, he never expected this much attention.

“I didn’t. Last year when I started playing football it was new to me. Some things came natural, but there were some things I still had to learn and there are things I still have to learn. Once I got out on the field I just did what I had to do, and I had a pretty good season. A lot of people told me I had a great season, and I figured [I’d get] a couple offers here and there, but I didn’t think I’d be hearing from the schools I’ve heard from. That just exceeded my expectations. ”

Syracuse was one of the first schools to come to the table and offer the New York native. But since then, Holley has amassed nearly two dozen offers. Can the Orange still play with the big dogs? Right now, the lineman is planning on taking things slow. Holley has a busy summer ahead of him.

“It’s been fun. I’m learning a lot about the different schools and just taking everything in one step at a time. I’m just enjoying myself right now”

His junior year is starting to come to a close, but spring practices are in full gear. Holley tells The Fizz he plans to work on his technique and conditioning as he prepares for a highly scrutinized senior campaign at Lincoln. The last time Syracuse went after a five-star recruit from Lincoln HS, it didn’t end well. Ishaq Williams ended up at Notre Dame and Doug Marrone lost out on another prized jewel from NYC.

Holley could be a different story. He tells The Fizz defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough was at Lincoln HS two weeks ago to watch his practice, and he also had a great chat with Scott Shafer just a few weeks ago. Shafer’s biggest sell is going to have to be that defensive passion.

This summer Holley will be competing at a two national camps: The Opening, (6/30-7/3) at the Nike headquarters in Oregon, and The Rivals Top 100 Five Star Challenge (6/22-6/24) in Atlanta. Holley will also be planning some unofficial visits. He doesn’t know yet when he will making a visit up to the Hill. His main focus over the next few months is to simply improve.

“I just want to go out there and compete and enjoy the different competition. That’s my biggest thing, I just want to learn from [different players]. My main goal is to get 100 times better than I am now, so by the time the season rolls around, I’ll be as dominant as can be. I just want to go to Yankee Stadium and reclaim that [PSAL] title.”

With Holley smashing through offensive lines in 2013, that’s certainly a viable possibility.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

93 Comments on this Post

  1. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,what a contrast…in “77” summer was the last time I was able to take 10 weeks to rejuvenate at my uncles farm in Atlantic Canada before I moved finally out of Jersey into Manhatten an worked the discos (Icepalace,O’Neils,Limelite)as a greeter/doorman/bouncer thru association with the old Irish gang on the Westside in Hells Kitchen now called Clinton!!I probably should have spent that 10 weeks in NYC and went “Country” for the peace and tranquility of ur lifestyle??I guess u could say i did it backwards?…but it is what it is!!!

  2. @Russell MacEachern;

    I don’t know how you did all of that and come out in one piece. “Hells Kitchen”,from what I’ve read and heard was probably one of the roughest places in all of New York State.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We’re to peas from the same pod, having so much in common,is what makes it easy to talk and understand exactly where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished in your life.

    We’ve never met Russell and someday I hope that changes. People here say that I go over board in protecting you at times. I’m not afraid to call you a friend and protecting friends is something that I feel is the right thing in doing.

    I met the “farmers daughter” in 1965 and married her in 1969. If it weren’t for her diligence/understanding in keeping our marrage together,I’d probably be dead by now. I owe here everything.

    I also know that I will upset Terry with all of this babbling,but if it weren’t for this website talking about sports and football in general Russel we would never had this chance to talk about our farming experiences of the past. It’s been through you that I’ve learned about Don Bosco and Bergan Catholic High Schools in Jersey and the talent that they produce within the state that makes it one of the hotspots for recruiting in the nation.

    I’ve enjoyed all that we’ve discussed and hope to have a hell of a lot more of the same in the future.

    “Old Friend” has a nice ring to it Russell. I think I’ll keep it for awhile.

  3. Carlton

    I hate to break up ur guys talk but had question if you guy new of Jabrill Peppers from Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic and is the #2 prospect in the country? He is deciding between LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers and Stanford. Sad that `Cuse didn’t even make the list. Did they even offer? Just wondering.

  4. @Carlton;

    That’s the first that I have heard that name.

    I do know that they’ve offered to a couple more prospects from NJ, the latest being OT Billy Ray Mitchell out of Paramus Catholic High School.

  5. @Carlton;

    Maybe Russ will have some insight on the kid.

  6. I think tha tShafer and crew are trying their best toi reopen the door to NJ and start getting some of these recruits.

    The latest offer went to 6’2″ 215 lb OLB Jason Cabinda out of Hunterdon Central HS—Flemington NJ

    According to schools of interest are;Bryant, Colgate, Connecticut, Fordham, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Monmouth(NJ),Syracuse.

  7. Russell MacEachern

    Yes I do!!I hear hes a “special” kid who walks to the beat of his own drum!He’s interested in the music industry (rap)and wants to be close to the NYC/Hoboken,NJ reality show scene and his fathers been away in jail since he was 7 and wants to stay near home since his dads getting out in June and get reaquainted with him!!RU was always involved but couldnt put the hi-pressure sell on him cause hes Jersey smart and like AD,Savon Huggins and Keith Hamilton is a trendsetter..btw just what we need to kick our program off!!A kid that dont care what others say cause he got CONFIDENCE!!He blew off DBP to go to lesser know Paramus Catholic and others followed!Now their a Jersey parochial power with 5 or 6 D! srs!!Not too many kids have his cojones!We’ll see as with all kids …..who knows what their thinking?May 26th hes gonna announce!

  8. Russell MacEachern

    Gee Ron,I never thought of myself as needing protection from a bunch of clowns on a keyboard??Defending?Loyalty?… appreciated but defending denotes weakness and what have I who uses my real name have to fear at my age from a keyboard coward?I do get frustrated with some guys who think they have all the answers or there view is the right view type but its easy to remedy…pull the plug!!Ha Ha

  9. Russell MacEachern

    Usually I worry people might think me a bully,lol but I always knew how to deal with that type as I was always a defender of the less fortunate!!I eat nails for breakfast and love the smell of sulphur and napalm in the morning!!lol..

  10. Russell MacEachern

    @Carlton you Malone and bigdip never need apologize to Ron or I for participating as your input is appreciated,respected and missed when ur otherwise occupied!!

  11. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,leave it to Carlton to scoop me on Peppers lol thats why hes so valuable on the board!!Ron friend,when u think of me think Butch from “the Little Rascals”!!LoL

  12. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,you really never heard of Jabril Peppers?#1 player in at least the NEast!5* and everyones been talking about him since he was a freshman hs star in NJ!!6′ 205 4.4 40 rb/db/wr/qb or just the best athlete in the country!!I always thought he would go LSU or Stanford and hes got a 3.7 gpa!!I suspected USCe and UCLA as sleepers for him but follow the music industry!J Cabinda is a Jersey Joe Martinek stat stuffer,all-state utility player type but he’s not 6’2….maybe 6 even 205 but might get to 6’2″ 215 or so but not a difference maker!!

  13. @Russell MacEachern;

    Russell,when I say that people think that I protect you on this website,is when I tell them to kinda back off of the critizism when you make a bold statement. I for one Russell stand by your comments because I agree with just about everything you say.

    I’ve always been labeled a trouble maker. It started early(12 yrs old)in life I’ve always stood my ground Russell against all comers,and always helped the little/out numbered/less fortunate people. But once you get that reputation,it never ever leaves you. To be very honest with you I’ve never eaten nails for breakfast or smelt napalm in the morning. But I do understand the statement.

    I know this is a sports website and I apologize to all when I respond to Russell’s questions. Please understand that this is the only way that I have to communicate with him and I’m not going to back away from talking to a man that I consider a friend. I also know that when we do this others might get irritated.

    Russell,like I said earlier,we have so much in common that it’s scary. When we talk about our past it seems like we’re looking at each other in the mirror. That’s a little scary,and Russell like I said before,I stand by people I consider to be a friend.

  14. @Russell MacEachern;

    No Russell I’ve never heard of Jabril Peppers.

    I didn’t know why people were flocking to NJ to get players either until I talked with you and found out just how big football was in the state. When I looked up and read about Don Bosco Prep & Bergen Catholic High Schools is when I found out about it all after talk9ing to you.

  15. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,thanks I consider that coming from u a high compliment!!btw we dont babble too much so ef em!and Ron,one more rumor so wild Im not gonna post on main board but Jabril Peppers said he was gonna “shock the world” with his commit!!One guy even ventured SU or BC??We’re we even recruiting him?….Theres lots of downstate speculation its RU but Im dumbfounded about what this special kid is REALLY gonna do!Funny how 17 yr old kids get us older guys all up in a tizzy huh?

  16. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,really I prefer cocoa crispies in the morning nowadays!!Just thinking about those negatoids who think they know it all depresses me to the point of not visiting the site at times!! Im to old to suffer fools!!Ha Ha

  17. @Russell MacEachern;

    I’m not a good one to remember names of who we’re going after.

    I like hearing & reading comments from just about everyone on this website. Malone,you,Carlton,bigdip,Mademan,Terry and others bring insight and valuable information to this website that isn’t found anywhere else.
    When the BigDipper and Cusedontluse post their both informative and to the point. How can this group of people go wrong? I enjoy it all Russell,and finding out about this kid Jabril Peppers is only a small bit of new information brought forward by one of the family for all of us to enjoy and questions about.

  18. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,yea RU puts out more than its share of talent but truth is everything is trending south…Va’s Hamptons rds and MD/DE put out a few too!Ga seems to have become the 5th best state for talent after the big 3 but 10/12 yrs ago NJ was ahead of them!!Even now NC seems to be pumping out the kids since half of NJ/LI has moved down there for economic reasons at the NEs expense but for some reason football almost seems to stop at the Connecticut line!?!Dont ask me why?Ive been telling u guys Addazio is kicking butt up at BC and now we have to worry about them waking up and stealing our recruits too!!

  19. Russell MacEachern

    Sorry Ron I meant NJ not RU puts out talent but in my mind sometimes their the same thing due to shadys mind winning time on the banks and I hope HCSS does half as well for our kids and state!!…tho Ron I consider myself a NYer like a lot of North Jersey kids who grew up in the shadows of the Empire State Bldg Im still a Jersey guy!!

  20. Russell MacEachern

    Agree Ron about mademan who pulls no bones he’s RU thru and thru but is friendly and informative!! I feel like mademan and I grew up in the same Essex Cty neighborhoods and wish I knew him!!Nostalgia I guess Ron!!

  21. Carlton

    Russ- has he given any hints to what school he’s leaning to? I know 24/7 sports had it 70% Michigan 20% PSU an RU at 10% chances. It said SU had offered but had no interest. Espn had him as a Michigan lean as well. I hope he’s not like that 4star WR that threw away a full ride to MSU to chase a his rap dream. Don’t know if u saw the story on that.

  22. Russell MacEachern

    @Carlton,a friend of mine teaches at his HS and says HE’S GONNA SHOCK people when he commits and since he missed his dad so much speculates 80% RU 20% other local (Temple,SU,PSU,UConn)for proximity to the “scene” Hoboken/NYC and recently said RU was always in it and knew it and the coaches so well persistent visits there recently we’ret necessary!!But Carlton who the heck knows whats in a kids mind?He grew up in East Orange a block away from a very good friend of mine and 2 miles from my NJ door!!others that know him say Stanford or RU but since his dad cant leave the state Stanfords not likely!!He’ll only be in school 3 more years anyway due to extremely high GPA 3.8 or thereabouts!!

  23. Russell MacEachern

    Id say forget ND but he like several other nj area types get blown away after visits to UMich like his teamate OT JBB but he’s the type who worrys about how his recruiting affects teamates!!Like I said.. even some adults respect him and call him special….a friend of mine compared him to Passaic,NJ HS star and ex Oakland Raider the assasin Jack Tatum!!Wow,some kid!!

  24. Russell MacEachern

    Id guess 50%Mich 40%RU 10%other!!

  25. Russell MacEachern

    Carlton,Im starting to realize after talking to blogger frankthetank that ND will never give up indepence unless a conference is necessary for entry into playoffs…or when hell freezes over!!

  26. Carlton


    Yea ND will never give it up unless they have no other choice. Otherwise they would have to share their TV contract like Texas has to and is not happy about as well as bowl money. No reason to join a money hunger conf. when you can make it on ur own and do it ur way.

  27. Russell MacEachern

    I think anyone else with sense would do the same thing!!Not many 2/3? could call there own shots and most of the animous is jealousy!BK has them almost back where ND was in their heyday!Uv sold me!

  28. Russell MacEachern

    @Carlton,Id guess what they say about NDs boosters are that they r the 1s who make the decisions for the Irish ..not the AD?most powerful boosters in country!?!

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