Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln five-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley backed out of his Penn State pledge on Wednesday in favor of Florida according to his uncle Scott Benjamin.
The Gators were a close second when Holley originally committed to Penn State on December 17, but when Bill O’Brien left Happy Valley for the NFL, Holley’s recruitment went into a state of flux. When former defensive line coach Larry Johnson left for Ohio State, it changed everything.
"It was a combination of things," Benjamin said. "The race was very close between them and Penn State. Once all the staff and everyone was gone, Thomas felt he didn't want to go through the whole process again."
Even after Holley committed to Penn State, the Florida coaching staff kept in touch according to Benjamin.
"He's had a very good relationship with Florida and he felt that was the place for him to go," Benjamin said.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Holley is ranked by 247Sports as the nation's No. 2 defensive tackle and No. 18 prospect overall. He becomes commit No. 21 for the Gators, and the third five-star joining cornerback Jalen Tabor and defensive tackle Gerald Willis.
"He's looking forward to working with Coach (Brad) Lawing and seeing Florida turn back into the powerhouse they should be," Benjamin said. "This year was a fluke with all the injuries, and they have a good class coming in with the addition of Thomas and I think they're going to be good."
Holley has visited Gainesville twice including for his official visit the weekend of Nov. 29. Gators head coach Will Muschamp attended his state championship victory.
With Holley in the fold, Florida's class ranks No. 9 nationally according to 247Sports.