HSFB preview by position: Transition to defensive line no easy task

Chris Harlan
| Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, 9:27 p.m.

Tyler Hudanick's future could be offense. The Seneca Valley senior has shown an ability to block, and his 6-foot-5, 290-pound frame certainly makes him big enough to play tackle.

Quad North coaches named him a first-team all-conference offensive lineman last season, but there's also another side to him.

At times last season, Hudanick became a disruptive defensive tackle.

Hudanick's highlight video shows him push past the center, chase down a quarterback and throw him to the ground for a turnover-causing tackle.

Another shows him pull down a rusher in the backfield.

Defensive plays like those were what some opposing coaches most remember about Hudanick's junior year. His blocking was good, but blocking him was a battle.

Not every offensive lineman can transition into a two-way standout like Hudanick, Moon's Niko Yaramus, Mt. Lebanon's Matt Hoffman and others.

Offensive linemen are athletic, without question. But playing defense might require just a little bit more.

Chris Harlan is staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

1. Tyler Hudanick

Seneca Valley, sr., 6-5, 290

A strong two-way tackle, Hudanick holds around two dozen scholarship offers, including one from almost every school in the Mid-American Conference. Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals, Hudanick was a Class AAAA first-team, all-conference offensive lineman last year.

2. Niko Yaramus

Moon, sr., 6-3, 280

A versatile player, Yaramus can handle any position on the offensive or defensive lines. Offensively, he switched from tackle to center last season. The first-team, all-conference pick holds more than a dozen college offers, with Akron, Buffalo, Cornell, Army and Navy among them.

3. Trey Blandford

Penn-Trafford, sr. , 6-2, 260

The defensive end had 63 tackles with eight sacks as a junior, earning him first-team, all-conference honors in the Quad East. He also played guard for a Penn-Trafford offense that produced a 1,200-yard rusher and reached the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals.

4. Matt Hoffman

Mt. Lebanon, sr., 6-2, 250

Hoffman led the Blue Devils with three sacks last season. A first-team, all-conference offensive lineman, Hoffman excelled on defense. The end had 24 tackles with four tackles for a loss, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt as a junior. He committed to Penn in July.

5. Arrington Gipson

Aliquippa, sr., 6-1, 290

A two-way starter at tackle, Gipson helped the Quips return to Heinz Field last season for the WPIAL Class AA final. He's received college offers from Akron and Temple. As a left tackle, Gipson was part of an offensive line that blocked for two tailbacks who each surpassed 4,000 career yards. He was first-team all-conference.

One to watch: Zack Blystone

Washington, sr., 6-2, 270

The defensive tackle missed his junior season when the WPIAL ruled that his transfer from Charleroi was made with athletic intent. Now that his year-long ban has expired, Blystone can join Washington's lineup.

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