Tigers’ Hilling heading to PSU

The Penn State football team has been loading up on kicking specialists this recruiting cycle, and, on Monday, reached into Blair County for one of the best in the state: Hollidaysburg Area High School’s Vlad Hilling.

Hilling, the Golden Tigers’ Class 5A all-state place-kicker, gave a verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions to join their program as a preferred walk-on. He made the announcement public through his Twitter page last night, ultimately choosing Penn State over Rutgers.

“This was one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Hilling posted “This is not the end, but only the beginning of something special!”

Hilling will bring to four the number of Blair County players on the Lion roster next fall. Hollidaysburg center Zach Simpson will be a redshirt junior next year, joining Altoona’s Kevin Givens and Central’s Alex Hoenstine on the squad.

A native of Ukraine, Hilling connected on 20-of-27 field goals in his career. As a senior, he was 10-for-12 on field goals with a long of 41 yards and a perfect 46-for-46 on extra-points. He also shared the punting duties.

Hilling booted three field goals in a 30-27 District 6-8-10 championship game victory over previously-unbeaten Grove City and was the Altoona Mirror’s first-team all-area kicker.

“I’m so happy for Vlad and his family. He is a great example of hard work and dedication which are the values our program,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said. “I know he will make the most of this great opportunity.”

Despite being a preferred walk-on, Hilling took an official visit to University Park over the weekend.

With the graduation of Tyler Davis and the transfer of Alex Barbir, Penn State has been looking to bring in options for its kicking game. Jake Pinegar of Iowa signed last month and will be on scholarship, and they have a walk-on commitment from Washington, D.C.’s Rafael Checa, the No. 2 kicking prospect in the country in the 2018 class according to Kornblue Kicking.

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