Holt Still Firm On BYU

After a 42-16 pounding of Riverton High School by Bingham High School, Total Blue Sports caught up with one of the nation's top tight ends - Austin Holt - for comments about his season and the Cougars of BYU.

Austin Holt, the nation's third-ranked tight end prospect, can pretty much do it all and does it without question. Although the big 6-foot-6-inch, 235-pound tight end has a variety of skills, the Bingham coaches ask Holt to block in an offense that features more of a running attack, with senior Sam Langi, than a passing one.

"I had a pretty good game," said Holt. "Catching the ball is one thing, but I really want to work on my blocking. I really think that's going to be one of the main things for me next year, or whenever I get the opportunity to play. With the o-line coach that we have, who played at Kentucky and in the NFL, I'm trying to learn as much as I can with my feet. So, that's been my focus for right now."

Holt is being modest in terms of his performance against Riverton. He had two receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns. His longest was catch on a seam route, in which Holt busted through the Riverton defense for a 44-yard touchdown.

"The catches were good," said Holt. "I've been working with our offensive coordinator quite a bit with our quarterbacks. I've had a few people come up to me and ask me that question. Our offensive coordinator is a mastermind and that's what we call him. I've been playing wideout, I've been playing in the slot, and then in the backfield I've been play a little fullback and also tight end. So, they're moving me around, which is good because I can get a little taste of everything, but once I split out, that's when they've been throwing me the ball."

Thus far on the season, Holt has 21 receptions for 393 yards, which is an average of 18.76 yards per reception, and also has five touchdowns. And while Holt plays in a primarily running offense, he has noticed similarities between Bingham's offense and BYU's offense.

"It's kind of funny because you can watch BYU on the weekends and then come to practice on Monday, and we might throw something in that they did," said Holt with a chuckle. "It may be a route or something like how they run a play. But you know, after I went to this last BYU summer camp, I had a lot of time to work out with Coach Anae and I learned some routes that BYU does, and we put them into our offense."

Having grown up a BYU fan, Holt has followed the Cougars' progress this season. He even made the trip down to Southern California to watch BYU play UCLA. Holt made the trip with his friend and teammate, kicking sensation Justin Sorensen, who has also committed to BYU.

"There were probably 20,000 BYU fans [at the Rose Bowl], and that was amazing to see the kind of support they had when they play away from home," said Holt. "This game [BYU vs. UCLA] was the game that came after Justin [Sorensen] kicked a 62-yard field goal, so everyone was talking to him and acknowledging him for that. After the game when BYU lost, people came up to us and said, ‘Don't get down about BYU or leave us,' and things like that. You know, I want the team to do well and win games, but I was looking at the tight ends, and during that game they had around 11-to-12 catches. I love the coaches down there at BYU and they treat me great. Justin and I are good friends and we're happy about going to BYU, so I like it and I think they're doing good in my opinion."

With many top quality recruits coming out of Bingham High School, the recruiting process has become less of a challenge for the Cougar coaching staff. The Bingham High School's football coaching staff, led by Coach Peck, runs their program in such a way that it mirrors that of BYU. Because this is the case, the transition from high school to college has been mutually beneficial.

"The funny thing is, when Coach Mendenhall talked to us he said they're trying to bring in certain kinds of kids," Holt said. "He said, ‘We have a tough program down here and we have the honor code, among everything else.' I remember him telling us, ‘The way we practice and because of the way we coach, we try to recruit the kinds of kids that are coached in a similar way.' You know, I think Coach Peck coaches to a "T" the exact same way that Coach Mendenhall coaches. That's one reason why I think Coach Mendenhall and his coaches recruit a lot from Bingham High School. That's one thing he said about Jordan [Pendleton]. [Coach Peck] said that Jordan had no problem fitting in [at BYU] because our practices are the same with how they do it. It may be a little tougher because it's college, but he said that you'll be ready because it's how we do it here [at Bingham High School]."

Holt feels that having played on state championship teams under a coach of Coach Peck's caliber, and now having the privilege of moving on under the direction of Coach Mendenhall at the college level, has been a real blessing to him.

"You know, I feel blessed," said a chuckling Holt. "I've been with Coach Peck since I was eight years old playing basketball, so it's just worked out for me in having the talent, the coaches and the team and the talent that I've had around me. Then being able to go to college afterwards has been a real blessing to me, too."

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