McCANDLESS — With Pitt offering North Catholic sophomore defensive lineman Brady O’Hara a scholarship for as far as away as 2025, it certainly has attention on what he could become. After seeing O’Hara for one game against Avonworth it is easy to see why Pitt wanted to get in early. There is a chance that the attention on O’Hara grows much bigger as he gets closer to making his college choice.
Pitt has been recruiting O’Hara as both a tight end and defensive lineman. Listed at 6-foot-6, he is already rather tall for the defensive end role. For reference, it is 97th percentile height for NFL defensive ends. However, at this point, his length, explosion, and physicality at the position certainly is the most intriguing aspect of his game. As he grows into his frame over the next two years and fills out, there is a chance that he will be overwhelming as an edge rusher, regardless of competition.
North Catholic has O’Hara lined up in a four-point stance. This gives him the leverage at his size to stay low on the offensive tackles that he faces. He also has the bending ability to stay low as he turns the corner, which could become dangerous as he gets older and understands how to use his ability.
“That is something I have been working on,” said O’Hara about exploding out of his stance while staying low. “The coaching has been telling me just go right off of the edge, do not engage with him, just go off of the edge.”
That is because with his size and explosion if he can stay low, he can run right around tackles and get to the quarterback. O’Hara lined up over the guard for a snap or two and beat him off of the ball cleanly. On one snap he made a play in the backfield by shooting the gap in front of him with a quick burst.
“Last year I could not even get off of the ball,” said O’Hara, who admits he is much more explosive this year. “This year, I can get off of the ball, and start to work my move.”
When O’Hara does engage with the opposition, he has the length that helps him win. At times he can play too high when he makes contact, but at his age, that is hardly a concern. What is encouraging is that he uses his length and works hard to extend his arms, essentially bench-pressing his opposition. Beyond that, he is already starting to work in a pass-rush move or two.
O’Hara has tried out a spin move here, and there, and worked in a few other moves when he got clean chances to rush the passer.
“I started practicing that early in the season. I stopped, but I started to pick it back up a few weeks ago” said O’Hara on his spin move.
As Avonworth controlled the game against his North Catholic defense you could not see many pass-rush attempts. However, he made six run stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. In those moments the combination of physicality, burst, and length all came together for flashes that made you understand why the local team would want to get in first before the storm comes.