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Jonathan Holland Looks Forward To Facing Old Teammate Dwayne Haskins

Saturday’s game between Penn State and Ohio State will have major playoff ramifications, but it will also serve as a reunion for two opposing players.

Penn State tight end Jonathan Holland was high school teammates with Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. at The Bullis School in Potomac, MD. 

Holland is a year older than Haskins, but the two are both making a significant impact for their respective schools as first-year starters this season.

Haskins has the second-most passing touchdowns in the FBS with 16 entering Saturday’s top 10 showdown, while Holland — a redshirt junior — has seven catches for 114 yards through four games.

“Obviously everybody knows he’s an awesome player,” Holland said of Haskins. “He’s a great guy also. I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

Holland celebrates a KJ Hamler touchdown that was later called back due to holding.

As a senior at Bullis in 2014, Holland caught 22 passes from Haskins, including four touchdowns, and accumulated 311 receiving yards. He was a standout defensive end for the Bulldogs as well, but decided he wanted to play offense in college. 

Penn State linebacker Cam Brown, a junior from Burtonsville, MD, was also high school teammates with Holland and Haskins.

Holland racked up additional scholarship offers from Clemson, Georgia, and Florida State, but committed to the Nittany Lions on May 3, 2014 — two months after earning an offer from James Franklin.

Holland is well equipped to describe what makes Haskins such a successful signal caller now that he’s taken over for Ohio State great J.T. Barrett.

“He’s very accurate. He makes few mistakes. He’s a gamer,” Holland said. “He knows what to do with the ball. He doesn’t get freaked out in the pocket. He’s very calm and poised and can make plays.”

Haskins before the Penn State game last season in Columbus.

Holland is also familiar with Ohio State linebacker Keandre Jones and defensive end Chase Young. Jones played for Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, MD, while Young suited up for DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville alongside Shane Simmons.

Holland is splitting time at tight end with true freshman Pat Freiermuth, who scored his first career touchdown in Penn State’s 63-24 win over Illinois last Friday.

Holland said he’s recently been listening to Lil Baby and YoungBoy Never Broke Again during pregame warmups. He grew up a Washington Redskins fan and models his game after tight end Jordan Reed. Holland also enjoys watching Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Penn State tight ends coach Tyler Bowen goes way back with Holland, making Bowen’s transition to the coaching staff this offseason that much easier.

“I knew him when I was a recruit and he was a [graduate assistant],” Holland said. “T-Bow’s just a straight shooter. He’ll tell you exactly how it is. He doesn’t beat around the bush at all, which I appreciate.”

Holland leads the way for Miles Sanders against Illinois.

Holland said Bowen has helped him improve his blocking and route-running tremendously, saying he’s been a “great asset for the whole team” since arriving from Maryland.

Holland’s coming off a career performance against the Fighting Illini after hauling in three catches for 53 yards, but has yet to find the end zone for the Nittany Lions. Perhaps that will change Saturday against Haskins and the Buckeyes.

“I think I’ve been able to really lock in and be more consistent, mentally and physically, out there,” Holland said. “I think it came with just the game reps that I was getting and then the help of my teammates.”

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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