North Catholic junior Brady O’Hara commits to Penn State: ‘White Out sold it for me’

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | 12:06 PM

North Catholic junior Brady O’Hara has visited Penn State’s campus enough times that he’s almost lost count.

Maybe seven? Maybe eight?

His latest visit came this past weekend to see a stadium “White Out” when Penn State hosted Iowa, and soon afterward he was ready to commit. O’Hara, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end, verbally committed to the Nittany Lions on Tuesday.

“The White Out sold it for me,” he said. “After that game I said, ‘Yeah, I’m positive.’ This is where I can see myself for the next four years.”

The game drew 110,830 fans with most wearing white. Penn State won 31-0.

O’Hara had made his first recruiting visit to campus last January for a junior day. He went with his family, and already then he was envisioning the atmosphere of a game day.

“As we were leaving, we were on the field leaving for the gate, I remember thinking, ‘This place would be insane,’” O’Hara said. “And each time I went back, it kept getting better and better. I was building relationships with the coaches, and I thought, ‘This. This is where I want to go.’”

Among his return trips, he was on campus for both a spring practice and the spring game, he went to camp there in the summer, attended the Lasch Bash barbecue and was back for the West Virginia game earlier this month.

Just before 10 a.m. Tuesday, he called assistant coaches Terry Smith and Ty Howle before also speaking with head coach James Franklin. O’Hara’s mother works at North Catholic, so he gathered a few of his friends in her office for his commitment.

He also had offers from Pitt, West Virginia, Marshall, UConn and Wisconsin.

“I was so nervous when I gave Coach Franklin a call,” O’Hara said. “It was a FaceTime call. You could see in the bottom of the screen my hands were shaking.”

Franklin asked if he was fully committed.

“He said, ‘I can’t get hyped unless you’re 100%. If you are, I’ll get hyped, and you’ll see it,’” O’Hara said. “It was like a party after he knew I was committed. It was a relief off my shoulders.”

Recruiting website rates O’Hara as a three-star prospect and ranks him 22nd nationally among tight end recruits in the 2025 class. He is ranked as the 11th-best junior prospect in Pennsylvania.

O’Hara has scored twice this season, both on 75-yard touchdown catches. In five games, he has 12 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He committed to Penn State as a tight end, but said coaches have suggested he could move to offensive tackle, if needed.

“Wherever they need help the most to win a Big Ten championship is what I’ll play for them,” he said.

Penn State coaches landed commitments from top WPIAL recruits on back-to-back days. O’Hara’s commitment came a day after Aliquippa running back Tiqwai Hayes picked the Nittany Lions.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at


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