Can Notre Dame Make a Run at Thomas Holley?

The official hiring of Brian VanGorder on Monday was not the only coaching news that could impact Notre Dame’s final push for the recruiting class of 2014.   Larry Johnson, Sr will reportedly not be part of James Franklin’s Penn State coaching staff which could open up the door for Notre Dame to get back in the race for Thomas Holley.

Thomas Holley, a four or five star defensive tackle recruit depending on what service you look at, selected Penn State last month in large part because of the relationship he developed with Larry Johnson, Sr.

According to the New York Daily News, Holley planned on opening back up his recruiting if Larry Johnson didn’t return as part of the Penn State staff under Franklin following Bill O’Brien’s departure for the NFL.

Whether Holley reconsiders his commitment could very well hinge on whether defensive line coach Larry Johnson returns. The relationship Holley built with Johnson was the driving force behind Holley’s Penn State commitment. Franklin reportedly said Saturday that he will speak with Johnson about a potential return.

“It certainly would be a factor, absolutely,” Holley’s mother Candace said of Johnson’s presence. “You remove that factor, we’re back to square one as far as having no relationship with Penn State. So I don’t know. We’re pretty much sitting back waiting to see what’s gonna happen.”

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Now that Johnson is reportedly out at Penn State, expect Notre Dame to make a hard push for Holley in light of last week’s decommitment from Matt Dickerson and the hiring of Vorder.  Without a defensive coordinator in place prior to today it would have been difficult for the Irish to make a serious run to get back in the race for Holley.

The plot for Holley thickened even a little more tonight though with Ohio State reportedly moving quickly to attempt to bring on Johnson as part of their staff according to SI’s Pete Thamel.

Holley visited Ohio State on October 19 and has an offer from the Buckeyes.  Given his previous statements regarding his affinity for Larry Johnson in the past, it is only logical to think that the Buckeyes could be a major player here now as well.

The other school to look out for here is Florida.  The Gators were reportedly Holley’s other finalist before he selected Penn State last month and also figure to be right in the thick of things again if Holley does indeed open back up his recruitment.

Notre Dame has a history of recruiting defensive line from New York very well.  Ishaq Williams was recruited by many programs as a defensive end and his recruitment by Bob Diaco is even more legendary than the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator’s hair.  Jarron Jones was committed to Penn State at one time but switched his commitment to Notre Dame and looks like he will be a major contributor in 2014.  Current #GoldenArmy14 member Jay Hayes is a Brooklyn native like Holley as well.

Notre Dame needs to add another defensive tackle in this year’s class after the loss of Dickerson and doing just that will likely be at the top of Brian VanGorder’s agenda now that he is officially on the job.  Less than 24 hours after being officially named the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, VanGorder finds himself in recruiting battle with Penn State, Florida, and Ohio State.  Welcome to Notre Dame, Mr. VanGorder.

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  1. Malik McDowell now on the radar? Surprise, Surprise!!

    He’d look lovely in Blue and Gold. Purportedly an RKG.

    1. Not worth casting judgement, but sounds like we somehow dropped the ball on him along the line. He seems like a freakish athlete. Luckily his dad is very into academics. It would be nice to see that edge of the sword work out for us on this one.

  2. I’ll say what I’ve said all along. If BK fails and ND has to fire him 2, 3 years down the road, I don’t think ND can recover from that. Another failed coach would probably doom ND. We’ve been riding history up to this point, but that’s fading quickly now. ND needs to be dominant now.

    So whatever your beliefs about BK’s ability to succeed, at the very least every ND fan should hope beyond hope that BK does succeed at ND. We really can’t afford to lose again.

    What would it do to ND if a coach who won everywhere else he’s been fails at ND. That would provide perfect fodder for the naysayers who say you can’t win in college football the right way–graduating all your players and expecting discipline.

  3. I think going into year 5 there should be a much higher expectation of increased offensive production. No excuses, we have BK’s recruited personnel, I want to see the offensive production we have been expecting since he was hired. BK calling the plays? Nothing new there as I suspected he would orchestrate the offense.

    Play like a champion

    1. Well Stores,

      Let’s pray harder, hopefully things will improve in our lifetime. I swore never again to be boondoggled by another ND messiah head coach since CW. What a circus, flashing the NFL rings was indeed mesmerizing to say the least. Now, after that mirage, show me the title first! By the way, do you like the new unofficial media theme: “WE ARE WHO WE ARE!”? Sounds like the revenge of the Zombies. Not to mention, picking the bottom of the barrel 6-6 bowl team was unimpressive too! Definitely, a cheezy way to get to 9-4. But hey, the campfire girls are happy and that is all that matters with this mediocre program.


      1. I’m a man who discovered the wheel and made the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s the kind of man I am.

  4. no great oc just the incompetent kelly, he cant even delegate, afraid to hire the best, he couldnt even find someone for the special teams, this guy is the typical corporate coach

    1. The Kelly bashing is comical. Guys – He just got more out of Tommy Turnover than many other coaches in the country would have gotten. The ONLY year we had an elite QB under Kelly, we went to BCS title game. Imagine if Kelly had Clausen? I was watching some Clausen highlights for some reason the other day (mostly Golden Tate highlights) and I forgot how sick his Jimmy’s arm was and how SIGNIFICANTLY better it was than Tommy Turnover. Kelly has HAD ONE YEAR with a top QB. One player doesn’t make a team, but you can’t win without an elite QB. Kelly has won every place he has been…..he will win here. Stop crying, stop crying. Also this just in – We will continue to have players leave early for the NFL as we continue to bring in top talent. Let’s see how the OFFENSE shakes out this season…..I don’t think we have seen the full potential of what we can be under Kelly. GO IRISH!!!

  5. Now I am going to get JC and bj fired up. BK just announced that he will be calling the plays next year, so forget about a high profile offensive coordinator. Denbrock is your guy because he will letter BK control the offense during the game. I think this is a huge mistake, because if the offense doesn’t run right he has no one to blame but himself. You better pray BK that your offense lights it up.

    1. Your right coaches callings plays never works. Take for instance the NC game, oh wait both Gus and Jimbo call plays, never mind.

      1. Ron,

        I’m not saying that head coaches can’t call plays. What I am saying is if the offense doesn’t perform it’s all on BK and that is a recipe for getting fired. Remember Ron, he has no excuses this year, he has a QB to run his offense, a stable of running backs, receivers, offensive lineman and kids that have grown up in his system. I and most people on this board expect a high powered offense. If it doesn’t happen with the schedule they play they can easily go 8-4 again and then it will be calling for his head.

      2. Gounds for FIRING BK?? WHOA..Jack! Pst Pst…Shhhhhh! Jack you’re putting your head on the chopping block here! These campfire girls cannot stand for the unvarnished truth! They will go all apoplectic on you and call you names!! C’mon jack you really don’t want to belong to the “Princess on a pea” club do you? hahahaha!

      3. I won’t. To be honest, it’s too bad tis site has degraded toward an ESPN flame war battle ground with the like of duranko and others who turn adult discussion into an adolescent snarky insult fest.

        Most of us long timers had enjoyed rational debate, disagreement, and discussion. But for some reason, duranko and some newbies seem to think we “owe” something to ND football. I think it’s the other way around.

        But I do disagree that ND should fire Kelly if they go 8-4. The program was a mess from Davie’s 3rd year until Kelly showed up. The harsh reality is, ND may not return to it’s former glory despite what some folks wanting you to view the ads on this site might think.

        Kelly will leave on his own before it gets too bad, and if he doesn’t, they’ll have him “retire” like Lou did.

      4. Amen C-Dog,

        Our troll threat use to come from outside exclusively, and now almost exclusively from the inside which now indeed scares off the other! Go figure!

        I attempted to mend the fence with duranko awhile back to no avail. To make matters worse, right after the Te’o debate he insinuated I was heading in the same direction as Teo’s on line friend! He merely took affense to my suggestion of utilizing a small lineman for fullback duties. After 42 years of marriage and counting, I think it is no mystery here where I stand with duranko nor will it change. Not to mention all his perceived ‘expert’ interrogation wonderment: Romper Room Facts are Facts!

        Thank you C-Dog for all your great insight over the years!

        Well, I guess we cannot turn back the clock like the good old days of just Frank and Kyle! Unfortunately, this is certainly zeitgeist chaos at it’s finest whether we want it or not! To bad the university is stuck in the same dream.

      5. Agreed, we need more good people like JC who makes responses like this:

        JC replied on January 14th, 2014 at 1:32 pm
        Drop dead gasbag! Albeit I like jeff’s definition of you better!

        A true ND man through and through.

      6. Burgundy,

        You’re girl friend started the exchange but of course you left out that part Princess! Go back one blog post to see the jibberish jabs who started it. So let’s talk about you and your girlfriend tagging bj on a daily basis! Or sliming the site with the Anchorman BS. Or sliming the site with Sex Panther BS. Or the filthy rotten language your tag team partner utilizes (beyond usual profanity!) when you are not winning the debate! You’re an expert cherry picking things to slime someone out of context. Take a bow Princess! You guys can dish it out on a daily basis, but God forbid if anyone steps on your worthless frolicking! Or returns fire on your trifecta team that deserves it!

        Keep it Classy! Or is that just a pacifier for your daily mocking paradox!

    2. JC replied on January 8th, 2014 at 5:35 pm


      I would love to agree with you on this one. Albeit, I just don’t see on the horizon any big time OC who would want to work for BK. Further, I will not be surprised if BK decides step in and call plays on both sides of the ball this year. I like your idea though!

      Amazing insight that JC guy!

      1. Shazamrock replied on January 14th, 2014 at 2:16 pm

        You often sit up all night talking to yourself don’t you?

        “He’s so lonely he once paid a hobo to spoon with him”

        Yippee Ki yay…. Monkey Fluffer!

      1. Would you join us round the campfire? We can read poetry and drink a nice glass of scotch and reminisce.
        You see I’m kind of a big deal. I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. I’m friends with Merlin Olsen, he comes over on occasion.

      2. Shazamrock replied on January 9th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        “JC was discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named him Squishy, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina.’”

    1. Urbie is a pimp; Urbie is a scumbag; Urbie is a deuche-bag; Urbie is a louse. I’d have still liked to get him, until we got BK.

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