At 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, Ryan McGrath is an imposing figure on and off the football field.
But McGrath, a two-way starter at tackle for Hollidaysburg, also possesses the physical toughness to maximize the size advantage he usually enjoys over his opponents on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
"[His size] is certainly a nice thing to have,'' Hollidaysburg coach John Barton said of McGrath's physical stature. "But he's always been a tough kid, too. He's a physical kid who does a great job finishing blocks [at offensive tackle], and he's worked very hard this offseason putting in the necessary time to get himself ready for this season.''
A two-way starter at tackle for the Golden Tigers, McGrath and fellow seniors Justin Gildea (wideout/defensive back) and Brandyn Ott (quarterback/safety) are all garnering attention from several Division I-A college football programs.
McGrath comes from excellent football stock. His father, Tom, was a member of the West Virginia University football program and his uncle, Dave, played collegiate football at Pitt.
"They were both definitely big influences on me,'' Ryan McGrath said of his dad and uncle. "They got me interested in playing football.''
McGrath will spearhead the Golden Tigers' veteran offensive line that also features Jake Wallace and Casey Castellucci returning at the guard positions, Connor Brinkhoff coming back at center, and Jake Bickley returning at tight end.
"I think we have a pretty strong offensive line,'' said McGrath, who has been drawing Division I-A attention from North Carolina State, Temple and Miami of Ohio. "Most of the people on the line this year are returning from last year, and most of them are seniors.''
Which should help Hollidaysburg in its bid to make a third straight appearance in the District 6-AAA football championship game come mid-November.
"We play a tough schedule, but we're looking forward to this season,'' McGrath said. "I think we should be able to hold our own against most of the teams we play, and be in the hunt to win districts this year.''