T.J. Hollowell is in his second season as linebackers coach at Youngstown State.
The Penguins linebackers had a solid all-around performance in 2015 which helped the defense have one its best campaigns in years. Two newcomers to the program - Lee Wright and Armand Dellovade - earned all-conference accolades for their standout performances.
On the season, YSU allowed just 288.7 yards of total offense per contest, the fewest allowed by the program since 2002. The Penguins were stingy against the pass ranking second in the FCS in fewest passing yards (116.7) allowed per game. It was the lowest yards per game allowed by the program since 1976.
In the FCS, the Penguins finished first in fewest passing yards allowed, tied for first in fewest first downs allowed, were fifth in pass-efficiency defense, seventh in total defense and ninth in third-down conversion defense.
As a unit, the linebackers combined for 11 sacks on the season. Wright, a second-team All-MVFC honoree, led the team with 78 total tackles, including 48 solo stops. He had six sacks on the campaign, the most by a YSU linebacker since Jon Tekac had six in 2002.
As a true freshman, Dellovade was fourth on the team in tackles with 54, 32 of which were solo stops. He was named honorable-mention all-conference in his first year after recording 44 tackles and four sacks in MVFC play.
Prior to joining the YSU staff, Hollowell was an assistant coach at Huntsville High School in Texas. Prior to his one year at the high school ranks, spent four years at Nebraska with YSU Head Coach Bo Pelini. As a defensive graduate assistant for the Huskers, Hollowell worked primarily with the linebackers during his tenure.
While working with the defense in 2013, Hollowell helped linebacker Lavonte David earn the Big Ten’s Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker-of-the-Year award, while Alfonzo Dennard was named the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year. David also earned first-team All-America honors. Overall, Nebraska ranked 18th nationally in pass defense, and held six of its 13 opponents to two touchdowns or less, including holding three opponents to single digits.
In 2012, linebackers were the two of the top four tackles for the Huskers. Will Compton led the team with an impressive 110 stops while Alonzo Whaley registered 65 tackles. Nebraska played in the Big Ten Championship game and the Capital One Bowl while posting a 10-4 mark.
During the 2011 season, David and Compton were a strong 1-2 punch at the position. David had 133 tackles and was the team’s top tackler by 51 stops. Compton was second on the team with 82 total tackles. The duo combined for 20 TFLs and six sacks.
He spent the 2010 campaign as an intern assisted the coaching staff and the Husker strength and conditioning staff.
A former starter for the Blackshirts, Hollowell signed with the New York Giants as a free agent in 2004 and spent two seasons in the NFL. He played for the New York Giants in 2004 and the New York Jets in 2005, while also spending two training camps with the Denver Broncos. He also spent parts of two years in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Hollowell played four seasons at Nebraska from 2000 to 2003, totaling 173 career tackles in helping the Huskers to four bowl games, including the BCS National Championship Game in 2001.
As a senior, he earned honorable-mention All-Big 12 recognition from the league coaches and The Associated Press, totaling 80stops, including eight tackles for losses and two interceptions. Hetied Nebraska’s school record with eight pass breakups by a linebacker and was part of a defense that forced a school-record 47 turnovers. As a junior, he had 60 total stops and during his sophomore campaign he had 26 tackles.
A standout at Copperas Cove High School in Texas, he finished his career as the school’s leader in career tackles with 311. As a senior, he had 159 tackles, 21 TFLs and three sacks as he earned Class5A (state’s largest) all-state honors.
Hollowell received his degree in sociology from Nebraska in 2009.
He and his wife, Jessica, have a young son, Tommy.