After dressing for some varsity games but not playing at all as a freshman, Dillon Holtan made a big leap last year for Stewartville High and now the 6'6, 270-pound offensive tackle is looking to show colleges the same talent his high school coaches have seen.
"About three weeks before the 2012-13 season my coach told me I wasn't on JV anymore, just strictly varsity," he explained. "One week before our season opener, I was named the team's starting right tackle. Going from starting center on my 9th grade team to starting right tackle on varsity was a huge jump. Was it tough? It was tough at points. I needed to adjust to the tempo of varsity versus 9th grade football. Otherwise, I didn't face much of an obstacle."
Recruiting is just beginning for Holtan. He says he has received numerous camp invites and will take some of those schools up on it throughout the summer.
"I am attending some camps this summer. My team is returning to South Dakota State University for our team camp on June 18-21. Along with that, I am attending the Redbirds' one day football camp at Illinois State on July 8, Winona State Warriors one day football camp on June 27, Minnesota State Mankato's football camp on July 13, and The Minnesota Gophers' Junior Day camp on July 21."
That Gopher camp will allow him to hopefully catch the eye of the staff at Minnesota and do something many kids who grow up in the state dream of doing: earn a scholarship to play for their home school.
"Since I've been raised a Minnesotan, I've been a Gopher Fan. However, I have followed other BCS teams such as the Oregon Ducks, Michigan Wolverines, and Iowa Hawkeyes. My dream school would be my home state school, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers."
Knowing full well what he excels at and what he still needs to work on, Holtan is continuing to work at improving his game and capitalizing on his potential.
"Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses on the field," he explained. "I see my size and length being to my advantage when it comes to playing offensive lineman. My most glaring weakness is probably my footwork and foot speed. It took me a few games to adjust to the pace of varsity like I said before, but I'm working to improve my footwork and foot speed come my junior and senior years."
And that willingness to work is another part of him that should be attractive to prospective colleges.
"I participate in an offseason weight lifting program that my assistant head coach put together two years ago called the "Iron Tiger". I'm a four time Iron Tiger winner as of today. We just finished our spring session."