Many basketball players decide to play football instead and suddenly realize that this is the sport they should have been playing all long. That's what happened with Thomas Holley. The defensive tackle from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln has already started gaining offers from major BCS programs.
"This past year was the first year I've ever played football in my life," said the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Holley. "I only played eight games out of the 13 games this year. It was a good experience and a big step in the right direction. It wasn't really a big transition for me from basketball to football because I'm very athletic. I'm definitely excited about all the offers."
So far seven schools have offered or have shown serious interest in Holley but none bigger than one school in Florida.
"My coach has been mailing out my highlight film and I started getting regional interest," he said. "We were in the gym lifting and he was texting a Florida State coach. We I took a picture together and he sent it to the Florida State coaches and, the next thing I know, they told my coach I had an offer. I couldn't believe it.
"I know the weather is good down there and they have a dominant, powerhouse football program," Holley said. "They also have a good education program, especially in criminal justice and sports medicine."
Other than Florida State, Boston College, Miami, Syracuse, Penn State, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Connecticut and Massachusetts have offered or have been very interested in Holley.
"Boston College is getting ready to offer and Syracuse has offered," he said. "The Hurricanes are another powerhouse program with the courses I'm looking for.
"Boston College is a good football program and I know they are very interested in me," Holley said. "It's a very good school and they have the courses I want. Syracuse is also a good football program. A good friend of mine, Terrell Hunt, goes there and he tells me about how good they treat him and how hard they are working him. He said the academics are definitely a good thing.
"I'm going to Penn State's junior day on February 23," he said. "I know that they can't play in a bowl game for a little while but if I do decide to go there I'd be there to play football. As long as I'm doing what I need to do to help the team and I'm learning in class then I can deal with a little setback. As of now my options are open so I'm just doing my research on schools and finding out which one is the best fit for me.
"One that hasn't offered yet but I think is going to is Notre Dame," Holley said. "They came up to the school and are talking with my coach. They're a very good team and my former teammate, Ishaq Williams, goes there and I had an opportunity to see them play in the national championship."
With so much happening in his recruitment, Holley wants to visit as many schools as he can to see who really wants him.
"I'll try to get to Florida State, Miami, Syracuse and UConn," he said. "I'm going to try to get to these first few schools."
Holley is visiting Rutgers on Tuesday February 19.