Florida Gators Recruiting: Defensive Tackle Thomas Holley Flips from Penn State

The latest flip is in and it’s a big one; nearly 300 pounds big. Brooklyn, NY (Abraham Lincoln) defensive tackle Thomas Holley has decommitted from Penn State and committed to Florida. While not an overwhelming surprise, it is a pleasant gift all the same.

Thomas Holley, Florida Gators

Holley originally committed to the Nittany Lions due to the relationship he had built with then Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive line coach Larry Johnson. When O’Brien left for the NFL’s Houston Texans and Johnson departed for Ohio State, Holley rethought the decision. Penn State’s loss suddenly became Florida’s gain.

Rather than completely reopen his recruitment, Holley went with his long-time number two—the Gators. The defensive tackle mentioned his relationship with Florida head coach Will Muschamp and the Gators’ staff as the main reason for his switch. Holley didn’t want to have to develop new relationships with new coaches when all along he could have seen himself comfortable coming to Gainesville.

While there is still time remaining in the 2014 recruiting cycle, Holley has said he is done. He has shut down his recruitment and will remain committed to Florida. As is always the case with recruiting, that sentiment can change, but it’s good to hear all the same.

Holley is widely considered to be one of the top defensive tackles in the 2014 class. 247, ESPN and Rivals all have him within the top three in the nation at the position; 247 even gives Holley five stars. He is joined on Florida’s 2014 commitment list by defensive linemen Taven Bryan (already enrolled), Khairi Clark, Justus Reed, and Gerald Willis III.

Florida Gators Recruiting: Gerald Willis III Commits to Gators; DE Chooses Florida Over LSU

Like his brother Landon Collins before him, Gerald Willis III will leave the state of Louisiana to play college football elsewhere. Down to Florida and LSU, the star defensive end committed to the Gators on Thursday during the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game.

Gerald Willis III, Florida Gators

Willis was thought to be headed to LSU, but became the second of April Justin’s sons to not commit to the Tigers. While her disappointment was evident this time around as well, she had a calm approach to the entire situation. On the positive side of things for Justin, that’s now two sons with scholarships to pursue both academics and athletics at the collegiate level. Not too bad of a deal if you ask me.

Willis mentioned consistent recruiting and defensive fit as two of his main reasons for choosing Florida, but also had possibly the quote of the recruiting cycle:

“Plus they got swag man, it’s the Gators,” said Willis.

I see a t-shirt in the works.

The defensive end said the Gators’ recent 4-8 season was not a deterent during the process. Willis actually felt that meant he could come in a help immediately. He hopes to play both inside and outside on the defensive line, much like former Florida stars Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd.

Willis receives five stars from both 247 and Scout and four from ESPN and Rivals. The four services place him between No. 3 and No. 5 at his position and all have him among their top 50 recruits across the nation.