Blue Chip Chat with ... J.P. Holtz, Shaler High School

Catching up with top area high school football players

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As a freshman, Holtz was a backup quarterback at Shaler. Now, he's a tight end and linebacker and one of the most menacing players in the WPIAL -- big and athletic. After playing some running back last year because of injuries, Holtz is back at tight end and starting at linebacker for the third season. He also has been a varsity basketball player since his freshman year. The J.P., by the way, stands for John Paul.


Holtz committed to Penn State July 22. He said he has been a lifelong Penn State fan and likes the Nittany Lions nowadays because of the style of play in the Big Ten Conference. His other top choices were Pitt, Purdue and Michigan State.


A lot of people seem to be talking up Shaler's team this year. What's the story? Well, we were young last year and only graduated a couple of senior starters. Our quarterback, Ryan Mincher, is back. Sean Gavin is a really good receiver. Our whole offensive and defensive lines are back, too. So we have chance to be pretty good.

You've been a quarterback, a tight end, a running back, and now back to tight end. Is your head spinning a little? Not really. I'll play wherever the team needs me. I liked running back, though. It was fun.

You really don't know what position you'll play at Penn State? Not really. They've just said whenever I get there, they'll try me out at whatever is best. But it really doesn't matter to me at all where I play.

You're known to be pretty intimidating with your size and strength. You think some opponents are afraid of you? [Laugh] Well, maybe in basketball, but I'm not too sure in football. I just try to play.

Are girls afraid of you? [Laugh] I'm not sure.

Who has a bigger jaw, you or Bill Cowher? I don't know, but that's a really good question.

Many years, the North Allegheny game seems to be a defining game in Shaler's season. Will it be this year? Everyone always hypes that up. The coaches talk about it, too. We're not that worried about it right now, but when it's time for the game, it will be a big deal.

You came from Deer Lakes to Shaler in sixth grade. So you could've been a Deer Lakes Lancer. How's that sound? It would be a lot different than Shaler.

Do you know if you'll play basketball your senior year? I'm not sure yet. But I probably will because we should be pretty good.

Wasn't there a funny story when you met Joe Paterno on a visit to Penn State this summer? He asked if I was related to Lou Holtz.

Was he serious? I don't know, but it was funny.


Year: Senior

Height: 6-4

Weight: 240

Pos: TE-LB


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