Pittsburgh linebacker commits to Penn State

Penn State received a verbal commitment on Friday from J.P. Holtz, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound linebacker and tight end from Shaler Area High School in Pittsburgh.

Holtz is the 12th member of the Nittany Lions’ 2012 recruiting class.

Holtz has shown tremendous versatility throughout high school. He became his team’s No. 1 ball carrier last season after Shaler’s top two tailbacks went down with injuries. He also filled in as an emergency quarterback as a freshman in a WPIAL playoff game.

Holtz, who will start at inside linebacker this season for the third straight year, said playing for Penn State has “always been a dream” for him.

“When you’re from Pennsylvania, it’s a big thing,” Holtz told the Altoona Mirror. “It’s like the perfect place to go to, especially for football, and it’s a really good school, too. I’ll get a good education. I know it was the right choice.”

He described Penn State coach Joe Paterno as a funny guy.

"He asked me if I was related to Lou Holtz," Holtz said, referring to the former Notre Dame coach. "I'm not."

Holtz said he had 14 scholarship offers, including offers from Temple, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Michigan State, Purdue, Syracuse, Maryland and West Virginia.

--Joe Juliano