Penn State defensive lineman Ryan Buchholz goes 6-foot-6, 270 pounds.
The redshirt freshman is also not the largest person in his family.
His brother Erik, five years older, finished up at James Madison in the spring of 2015, having played guard there. He still carries 300 pounds, Ryan said on a conference call with reporters earlier this week.
“My dad (Larry) is about my weight, too, and my height,” he said. “I think I’m tied for second.”
The oldest of three sons born to Larry and his wife Rebecca is Carl, six years Ryan’s elder. He was once a heavyweight wrestler at Rutgers and Maryland. He also walked on the Terps football team in the fall of his senior year (2013), serving as a scout-team fullback. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1724268-5-star-cb-leads-li...
Beyond the nuclear family, which also includes a daughter (Hannah), there is a cousin, Dan Buchholz, who was a three-year starting offensive tackle at Duquesne. He got a look from the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys in training camp over the summer, but was eventually forced to take an injury settlement.
So you get the picture — big family, big people. And big trouble for Ryan growing up, given where he stood in the family pecking order.
“They obviously picked on me a lot,” he said of his brothers. “They roughed me up. … They never really actually ‘hurt me’ hurt me, but we would fight. We would have rough times.”
At the same time he said, “They loved me to death and I think it was awesome being able to grow up with them, because they’ve helped me in many more ways than I can explain.”
He did explain that they always let him tag along to practice or workouts when they were at Great Valley High School, and always took time to work with him afterward. They accelerated his development, allowed him to follow in their footsteps at the school, just outside Philadelphia.
He redshirted last year at PSU, but this year has been part of the come-one, come-all defensive-line rotation. At first he came off the bench at end but beginning with the Temple game on Sept. 17 entered the mix at defensive tackle as well.
“It felt normal, so I was surprised about that,” he said.
He continues to see time at both positions, and to date has recorded 12 tackles, 2.5 for losses, as well as two sacks.
After losing three 2015 starters to the NFL the D-line as a whole has shown promise, especially a class that includes not only Buchholz but tackles Kevin Givens and Robert Windsor, as well as end Shareef Miller.
“It’s crazy to think that we’re where we are right now,” Buchholz said, “from where we started.”
On Saturday they square off against an Iowa team that is, as always, big and physical, one that features offensive linemen who are “some of the best we’ll see all year,” according to Buchholz.
Big challenge. But no bigger than the one he faced growing up.