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Adventures Elsewhere: NY Native Thomas Holley Passes on Syracuse Football

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via Pennlive

New York’s best football player is once again, going out of state. 5-star DT Thomas Holley, who visited the Syracuse campus multiple times, decided to commit to Penn State yesterday. The 6’5”, 285-lb lineman chose the Nittany Lions over Florida, and it was clear for a while that the Orange didn’t have the best chance at landing the Brooklyn native.

He admitted in multiple interviews that he wanted to be part of the Penn State legacy that churns out great defensive players after one another. Holley has only been playing organized football for two years, and his potential is just being honed.  He just led the Lincoln High School Railsplitters to an undefeated 13-0 season that was capped off by a New York City Championship at Yankee Stadium just a week and a half ago.

Holley is now added to a growing list of top New York City recruits that have decided to go out of state, and not choose Syracuse:


2014:        Thomas Holley                       Penn State

2013:        Ebenezer Ogundeko              Clemson

2011:         Ishaq Williams                     Notre Dame

2010:        Dominique Easley                 Florida

Syracuse fans can argue that this is a huge lose, but why? Holley is New York’s top recruit, and never truly had a real interest in the Orange, especially with big-name programs like PSU, Notre Dame and Florida surrounding him for months. It’s not worth throwing a fit about his decision to play at Penn State. The recruiting game is a funny one, and it’s not realistic to think that Syracuse can snap its fingers and magically reel in the New York’s City’s best every season. Does it matter if the Orange is getting top talent elsewhere?

Syracuse pulled in a 4-star WR from eastern Pennsylvania this fall: KJ Williams. That’s been a target area for Syracuse for years. The Orange also signed a big DT from Delaware this past winter, and then Isaiah Johnson promptly became one of the most meaningful members of the D-Line in his first year. Ron Thompson is from Michigan. Syracuse’s secondary is nearly all from Florida.

Orange Nation should not arbitrarily throw a fit when a top-20 recruit in the nation (forget about just New York state) decides to play elsewhere. Syracuse is winning other geographical recruiting battles, and it’s led to success: after all, the Orange will have made three bowl games in four years. It’s not realistic for any college football program to win every recruiting battle.

Syracuse won’t be having a happy Holley-day this time of year. But if Syracuse coaches win other recruiting battles across the country, that’s all that matters.

Posted by: Kevin Fitzgerald

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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