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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Holley Lifts Florida’s Class

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxFlorida’s 2014 class received some sizable momentum this week.

Defensive tackle Thomas Holley from Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., switched his commitment from Penn State to Florida.

Holley, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle by Rivals, decided to go with a coaching staff he knew at Florida over a staff he would have to get to know at Penn State.

“I think it was just kind of hard for me to build a relationship with a coaching staff in two weeks, when I had spent 10 months building a relationship with the previous coaching staff,” Holley told ESPN. “It really came down to the why between Penn State and Florida. At Florida, I already had a great relationship with the coaching staff, so it made it an easier decision.”

Holley’s decision to choose Florida adds to an already impressive defensive haul in the 2014 class. Defensive backs Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor have already enrolled at Florida and defensive end Gerald Willis III has committed.

Willis, who chose Florida over LSU at the Under Armour All-American game in St. Petersburg, Fla., earlier this month, appears solid in his commitment to Florida. His mother, April Justin, told 247Sports that Willis “will not flip at all” from his commitment.

Holley maintains his commitment to Florida is solid as well.

“I’m not trying to be a person that is constantly changing up what they want to do,” he said. “When I make a decision, I want to make sure it’s the right decision, and that’s why I’ve been taking my time with the process.

“Even after the coaching staff change, I took my time, I sat down with my family and weighed out all my options, and that’s what it came down to. This is my last hoorah, as far as schools. I don’t plan on changing up anytime soon. I don’t plan on decommitting from Florida and going somewhere else. This is it for me.”

Florida still has plenty of work to do on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators landed athlete Brandon Powell, who could play running back or wide receiver. But the Gators are still trying to recover from the losses of running back Dalvin Cook, who has enrolled at Florida State, and receiver Ermon Lane, who decommitted last week and appears to be leaning toward the Seminoles.

Florida is pursuing running backs Jeff Jones, who’s committed to Minnesota, and Derrell Scott, who’s also considering South Carolina and Tennessee. Receivers Eric Lauderdale, Isaiah McKenzie and C.J. Worton, a Florida State commit, are strongly considering Florida as well.

Gators coach Will Muschamp is selling playing time to prospects. He said this week every position is “open” following Florida’s 4-8 season.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to walk into a great situation to improve, play in an exciting offense,” Muschamp said. “This is still the University of Florida. We’ll compete and play for championships. That hasn’t changed.┬áNot in one year, that hasn’t.”

 

Vandy’s class takes huge hit

Vanderbilt’s 2014 class is predictably in big trouble as the Commodores search for a replacement for coach James Franklin.

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