Wanted to announce that I'm officially changing my position from DE to TE at the next level❗️❗️— Hollywood (@JonHolland_COO) October 29, 2014
In our interview a few weeks ago, Jon told me that the coaching staff was giving him complete freedom in choosing between becoming Penn State's next tight end, or defensive end. Even at the time, Jon told me that he was leaning towards tight end, and that he really felt as if he was finally understanding and excelling at the position. He also said that it helps having a great quarterback like Dwayne Haskins throwing him the ball, which is true, but Holland shows some nice instincts at the position as well. Here is the excerpt from the interview.
You've been putting up some very nice numbers at tight end this season so far. Do you have a preference as to which position you'll play in college?
Actually I've been talking to Penn State about it, I've been talking about with all my coaches and my family. I love playing tight end and I love playing defensive end. I'm going to finish out the season, because I play both spots now, and then decide which one I want to play. Penn State already told me it's up to me. They love me at tight end, so they'll take me at tight end. It's really up to me what position I want to play at the next level, but right now I'm kind of leaning a little bit towards tight end. It's a great luxury having [2016 4 star QB] Dwayne Haskins as your quarterback because he makes all of us look good, but I would say my tape at tight end is pretty good so I'll have a fair shot at playing either position at the next level.
His offensive tape thus far in his senior year shows that chemistry between Holland Haskins.
There are a few different things to discuss when it comes to this position switch for Holland, so let's get to it.
The Haskins Effect
As I've mentioned in the past, Haskins and Holland are close. They've played together for a few years now, and have a very noticeable chemistry, from the twittersphere to the football field. While playing with teammates is typically not a HUGE deciding factor for a recruit, it can certainly be a positive. Holland mentioned to me that he would be excited about playing on offense with his high school quarterback again in college, so Haskins becomes someone to look even more closely at in Penn State recruiting. As mentioned in the previous Committany Nation today, Haskins will be on campus this weekend for the Penn State-Maryland showdown. I would expect the staff to talk with him about the prospects of throwing to one of his favorite targets as a Nittany Lion once he moves on from high school.
I put in my Crystal Ball pick for Haskins after that interview with Holland. There's certainly a chance I'm wrong, as Ohio State is still a major player and was at one point named by Haskins as his "dream school", but Penn State seems to be setting themselves up very well for this round of Franklin v. Meyer.
How Many Tight Ends does Penn State Need: The Nick Bowers Story
Pittsburgh commit, Nick Bowers, was at Penn State this past weekend for the whiteout. He hasn't spoken much about it publicly, but the few things he's said make it seem like he had a good time. Bowers was really the only tight end target that Penn State was still pursuing at this point in the cycle. With the news that Holland will play the role, things may start to change in how the staff approaches Bowers.
While Nick's offer certainly won't be pulled, it will be interesting to see if the staff puts as much energy and priority on flipping him as they had been previously. Don't be mistaken though, if Bowers wants in and there's a spot, he's in. But typically it takes a little extra effort to turn a recruit away from a school, than it does to get him to choose your school first. There's a chance that Franklin and the staff turn their attention more towards filling other positional needs, like offensive linemen and cornerbacks.
As I've been saying, Bowers will likely not make any decisions until after his high school season has ended anyway, so there is still plenty of time to dissect this.
The Forgotten Man: Shareef Miller
One of the recruits who was seen as Penn State lock early on in the 2015 cycle, was Philadelphia defensive end, Shareef Miller. As time went on, it became clear that his grades at the time weren't where they needed to be to qualify to play at Penn State. From that point, Miller fell off the table a bit, but never committed to another school.
Even before Holland announced this positional change, Miller had been seeing increased contact from Penn State once more. He was visiting for the whiteout against Ohio State, and seemed to have a good time while there.
I really enjoyed myself PennState Lastnight thanks for the Love pic.twitter.com/VUMXc72L9N— #⃣7⃣ (@MillerShareef) October 26, 2014
Miller has reportedly been working hard with his academics, and may be set to earn his Penn State offer soon. I don't know right now if the staff is waiting for the grades to officially qualify or if they are just waiting for the right time to offer, but there hasn't been any changes in his status just yet.
We will continue to monitor the status of Bowers, Haskins, Miller, and all of the the others that you need to know about in the wake of Holland's decision.