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Penn State Football Recruiting

‘He Hits Them, and They Stay Hit’: Penn State Commit Alex Tatsch’s Coaches Break Down his Game

Graphic by Penn State Athletics: Alex Tatsch

Alex Tatsch grew up in Pennsylvania, but not as a Penn State fan.

He’s from Latrobe, which is in the Pittsburgh area, so those reading probably know what’s coming next.

Tatsch’s favorite team, his head coach at Greater Latrobe, Ron Prady, says, was Pitt.

But like Tikey Hayes (Aliquippa), Brady O’Hara (North Catholic) and Xxavier Thomas (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) before him, Tatsch became a WPIAL ’25 star who committed to Penn State.

Although Tatsch announced this decision in February, Prady told Nittany Sports Now he had seen it coming since December.

Prady said the 2023 White Out Game— a 31-0 win over Iowa in late September— opened his star linebacker’s eyes.

“He never wavered from that,” Prady said. “It was always Penn State. I think that stemmed from the fact that he had a great relationship with those guys up there and they obviously do a great job of recruiting and making a kid like him feel welcome. plus the fact that they play great defense at Penn State.”

So what’s Penn State getting in Tatsch?

‘WHEN HE HITS PEOPLE’

Per Prady, Tatsch is “the nicest kid in school.”

But in football— especially at the linebacker position— players have to be mean sometimes.

Tatsch knows when to be pleasant and when to be punishing.

“When he hits people,” Prady said, “he hits them, and they stay hit.”

As for specific examples, both Prady and defensive coordinator Lou Keyser picked the same two plays.

The first was this hit on Hempfield’s quarterback.

“It was quite a shot,” Prady said. “The kid saw it coming, but they were both horizontal to the ground and it was vicious.”

The second was a hit on the West Allegheny quarterback that unfortunately led to the player being carted off the field.

But for both coaches, the hits were clean, and Tatsch isn’t a dirty player. Just a tenacious one who is also fast and versatile.

PENN STATE IS GETTING A PHYSICALLY GIFTED PLAYER

Tatsch isn’t known for his size.

He’s just 217 pounds.

For context, current Penn State inside linebacker Kobe King is listed at 250.

But Prady knows Tatsch will have a chance to get bigger, and there are plenty of physical attributes Tatsch has to make up for his size.

“His length,” Prady said. “I mean, his ability to play power football in the run game and also be able to get underneath the route or even take the back. I feel like he’s going to be able to transition well to the college game because of how versatile he is and how physically gifted he is.”

Football players have to be mentally strong, as well, and his coaches feel Tatsch is just that.

‘IS THAT MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT?’

Tatsch messed up, and he knew it.

Against Trinity, Tatsch got under an out route and put himself in the perfect position to make an interception.

But he didn’t finish the job. Two plays later, Trinity scored a touchdown.

Upon returning to the sidelines, Keyser had a simple message for his star linebacker.

“You have to make that play,” he told Tatsch.

“And he knew he had to make that play.”

On Trinity’s next possession, Tatsch made a play.

“He makes the most unbelievable interception,” Keyser remembered. “He goes up with one hand and it feels like he jumps out of the stadium to get it. He takes it to the house and scores a touchdown.”

Keyser remembers Tatsch asking him a question he knew the answer to.

“Is that more of what you want?”

“Every time I watch it (the play),” Keyser said. “I think ‘holy cow. How did we get that lucky?’”

PENN STATE: WHAT DO THE SCOUTS SAY?

247Sports’ Hudson Standish published a scouting report on Tatsch not long before he committed.

This is what he had to say.

“Estimated at 6-foot-2, and 210 pounds, possesses an encouraging build with growth potential to add considerable weight at the next level. Even though there are limited verified athletic markers at this stage of the evaluation process, Tatsch flashes plenty of athleticism at running back, wildcat quarterback, and linebacker for Greater Latrobe High School located outside of Pittsburgh. Made a considerable jump in turnover production as a junior, picking off four passes and forcing three fumbles in twelve games. Demonstrates good play speed and impressive football instincts against both the run and the pass displaying the ability to diagnose quickly, sort through traffic, and finish with physicality. Uses hands well to stay clean in pursuit of the football. Should be viewed as a potential starter at the second level for a Power Five program with intriguing long-term upside.”

Prepredzone.com describes him as “a great zone-dropper, very difficult to block in the flat, and a punishing hitter that plays sideline-to-sideline.”

‘JUST A QUALITY KID’

For Prady and Keyser, Penn State fans are going to be getting to know a passionate, intelligent and likable individual.
“I think they’re getting a great young man off the field that will be a great student,” Prady said. “He’s a kid that will be hopefully high production and low maintenance. He’s one of those guys that he’ll do the right things off the football field and will make Penn State proud and is certainly going to be a great football player for them, too, on the field. I think he’s the total package.”
“They’re going to get to know a kid who cares about everything that he does,” Keyser said. “Who is very nice, just a quality kid who they’re going to want to cheer for. They’re going to be excited to cheer for.”

 

 

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