Less than a week after Josh Gattis left for Alabama, Penn State has its new assistant football coach.
Florida assistant Ja’Juan Seider is replacing Gattis, Penn State confirmed Thursday. He will take over as the running backs coach, while David Corley will slide over to wide receivers. Defensive line coach Sean Spencer has also been promoted to associated head coach.
“As soon as I met Ja’Juan, I knew that he would be a great fit for our staff,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “He comes highly recommended from a lot of people in the industry I respect. Ja’Juan has a quiet confidence and a natural charisma that will relate well to our running backs. His experience as a player and a coach will complement our offensive scheme. He is also widely regarded as one of nation’s top recruiters and his ties to this region will be beneficial. We are excited to have Ja’Juan and his family join this community.”
Seider spent one season coaching running backs at Florida under Jim McElwain — but when the head coach was fired and Dan Mullen was brought aboard, Seider was moved to tight ends.
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Instead of sticking around, Seider is filling the shoes of departed running backs coach Charles Huff and the recruiting connections of Gattis. And they’re big shoes. Huff helped develop one of the greatest running backs in Penn State history in Saquon Barkley, while Gattis was widely regarded as one of the nation’s best recruiters.
But Seider has a positive track record of his own.
In his playing days, Seider was a West Virginia backup to future NFL signal-caller Marc Bulger before transferring to Florida A&M, where he won the Jake Gaither Award — at the time, the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for historically black colleges and universities.
After a brief professional career, Seider coached at a pair of Florida high schools, was at Marshall from 2008 to 2010 and served as an assistant at West Virginia for six total seasons in two stints (2008-10, 2013-16). In Morgantown, he coached Heisman-contending quarterback Pat White and second-round pick Geno Smith.
Seider was an ace recruiter in his time at West Virginia and Marshall thanks to relationships made in Florida. He was named Conference USA’s recruiter of the year in 2012 and currently ranks as the country’s No. 29 recruiter, according to 247 Sports. For reference, Gattis ranks No. 13.
Seider caps a wild staff transformation at Penn State.
Ricky Rahne was promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after Joe Moorhead’s departure to Mississippi State. Former running backs coach Charles Huff joined him in Starkville, Army’s Corley was moved to receivers caoch, and Tyler Bowen fills the tight end coach role vacated by Rahne.
And now, Seider is Penn State’s new running backs coach.
“My family and I are so excited to join the Penn State staff in Happy Valley,” Seider said. “We are honored and privileged to be a part of a football program that is so rich in tradition. I believe Coach Franklin is doing something special here and I can’t wait to chase championships in Big Ten country.”