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Seneca Valley's Hudanick a tall, 2-way talent

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Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 10:10 p.m.
 

Don Holl has a rule for recruiting linemen that he followed while serving as an assistant coach at Gannon.

“You look at guys who were defensive linemen and say, ‘Worst case, he can play offensive line,' ” he said. “That's not in a negative way, but you have to be a little more athletic to be a defensive player.”

Holl, Seneca Valley's coach, doesn't have to look far to find an athletic lineman whose stock as an offensive guy has been helped by his work on defense.

Raiders junior tackle Tyler Hudanick could be the Class of 2015's answer to Mt. Lebanon's Alex Bookser, who parlayed his work as a two-way standout into a four-star rating, according to Rivals.com and ESPN.com, and a scholarship to Pitt.

Hudanick measures slightly less than Bookser at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, but his highlight film is no less impressive. The left tackle pulls, drive blocks and finishes with an edge, piling up pancake blocks on nearly every play.

“He has great feet,” Holl said. “Very good technique. He has the right mental makeup where he's a finisher.”

With zone-read offenses and mobile quarterbacks trending upward, athletic tackles are hot commodities, often being counted upon to block downfield more than pass protect.

“I feel like I'm able to be athletic just by being quicker than most people at this size,” Hudanick said.

Holl said Temple has promised a scholarship. Penn State, Pitt and Boston College are showing interest, though none has offered.

Hudanick had knee surgery — a minor meniscus repair — 19 days before the 2013 season and didn't become a primary player on defense until the final few weeks of the season.

Still, Holl uses Hudanick across the line depending on what defensive front Seneca Valley employs.

“(His defensive work) is just another piece of evidence that says he's a big, strong athlete and has some toughness to him,” Holl said. “He has a ton of upside. He's going to be a BCS-level offensive lineman.”

Hudanick is unusually athletic for his size, which comes from his baseball and basketball background. He gave up hoops this season. He nixed baseball in eighth grade.

One of the biggest problems remains his weight — if it can be considered a problem. Gain some or keep the look of a gigantic tight end?

“You don't want to become a big blimp,” said Hudanick, who would like to add about 10 pounds of good weight. “You want to be able to be big and strong but still get out and move.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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