Latrobe’s Holler among WPIAL’s top linemen
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Saturday, July 7, 2018 | 8:03 PM
The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason WPIAL Football All-Star team.
The players will be recognized at 2 p.m. July 24 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.
Label Trent Holler a throwback, an old-school football player, in his presence and a smile curls on his face like he just got away with something.
You almost expect a diabolical laugh to follow.
“Yeah, you could say that,” the incoming senior standout lineman from Latrobe said. “I play with an edge. I don’t care about anything else; I come at you until you’re dead on the other side of the ball.”
That nastiness and supreme confidence have blended well with Holler’s natural talent and skill to make him one of the premier linemen recruits in the WPIAL Class of 2019.
He has offers from Pitt and West Virginia, both coming within days of each other during what has been a fast-moving summer for the 6-foot-3, 290-pound center and defensive end — the jolly guy they call “Big Snack.”
“He works so hard and believes in himself,” Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said. “He’s whistle to whistle.”
Holler has narrowed his FBS list to four favorites, including Pitt and WVU, which join Connecticut and East Carolina.
His top two FCS schools, he said, are Youngstown State and Delaware.
If all goes according to plan, Holler said he could have a decision by August — “Unless some other offers come in; you never know,” he said. “I know Michigan State is still interested. If they come in, I may have to rethink some things.”
He plans to visit West Virginia later this month.
“Then, I will have visited everywhere I think I might want to go,” he said. “I will have a sit-down with my family, and we’ll figure out what’s best for me.”
With the versatile and immensely valuable Jason Armstrong gone, Holler knows his role as a run-stopper will increase drastically. He’ll still snap to the quarterback as usual, but he may have to cover more ground from defensive end.
“It was always nice to have Jason because if I was double-teamed or something, that freed him up to make plays,” Holler said. “We have three good linebackers, including (sophomore) Tucker Knupp. I broke his collarbone last year in camp — I told him how sorry I was. He is going to be pretty good for us. He can be what Jason was.”
Marucco said he noticed Holler’s overall athleticism over the years while watching him play other sports like basketball, baseball and track and field.
“And you could see his ability to snap the ball,” Marucco said. “And he makes those key blocks downfield on smaller guys who you would think would be more athletic. Trent also really helps the younger guys along, too.”
A three-time all-conference pick, Holler has no intention of resting on his laurels. If anything, a rise in his recruiting stock only means an inventory check of his senior-season goals.
“I owe it to myself and others to show everybody I can be the best player of the field,” he said. “The best player on both lines. I want to be that player opposing teams look at on film and say, ‘If we don’t stop (No.) 71 we’re in trouble.’ ”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.