Notre Dame needs to get tough and nasty along the offensive line, and there isn't anything tougher than an offensive lineman from Pennsylvania. Last spring, John Latina stopped by Aliquippa High School to get a look at Jonathan Baldwin. While visiting with coach Sherman McBride, Latina got a glimpse of Juantez Hollins (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) and like what he saw in the junior offensive lineman.
"We were just finishing up spring ball when coach Latina came up here," coach McBride responded when asked if Notre Dame has inquired about Hollins. "Juantez was in tenth grade at the time and when coach Latina saw big No. 70 walk past he grabbed me and asked me who the heck he was. He's a line coach and he like Juantez immediately."
Notre Dame invited Hollins to the USC game this weekend, but as with Baldwin, those plans were changed.
"You could see his smile when he found out he was supposed to go with us to Notre Dame," coach McBride said. "He light up like a Christmas tree. Unfortunately we couldn't make it, but he'll take a look at Notre Dame. We'll make it back out there."
It's still very early in the recruiting process, but McBride believes that Hollins will receive the same recruiting attention as his standout wide receiver.
"He's falling in the same category as Jonathan Baldwin," coach McBride explained. "He gets 15 pieces of mail every day from all over; USC, Notre Dame, Pitt, Ohio State, Colorado, North Carolina and all the other schools.
"Every coach that has come in looking for Jonathan has asked about him. He doesn't have any offers, but I'm sure after football season is over and the coaches start coming in, that he'll start seeing offers."
Not every kid that is the size of Hollins is going to make a good football player, but McBride knew he had a good one from the time Juantez came into the program.
"He started his ninth grade year," coach McBride said. "He plays offensive tackle and defensive tackle. Right now on defense, we have him on a rotation with another kid, so he switches off. He could play defensive line, but he'll be a great offensive lineman. By the time he leaves here he could be 6-foot-6. He has a nice wingspan and he uses his hands well.
"He has good feet and he can run. When we pull him, he comes around the corner like a 747. One of his biggest attributes is his ability to slide left and slide right. He can get out and block in space. He's not an elite guy right now, but he's headed in that direction. He's going to be a great player and we have one of the best offensive line coaches in Western Pennsylvania that works with him. Mark [Washington] teaches our guys the little things.
"Really the only thing he needs to work on right now is the weights," McBride said. "He understands wants about to go down. He lifts right now because he has to. He just needs a little push and he'll be fine."