During his tenure as head football coach at Penn State, James Franklin has made some excellent assistant coaching hires. Joe Moorhead, Tim Banks, Tyler Bowen, and promoting Brent Pry to defensive coordinator when Bob Shoop left all come to mind. The early returns on Gerad Parker and Joe Lorig are promising as well.
Of all the great hires Franklin has made, one of the best has been Ja’Juan Seider. Since arriving in Happy Valley Seider has been nothing short of a home run hire for the Nittany Lions as his impact has been felt both on the recruiting trail and the football field.
On January 25, 2018, Seider was hired to coach running backs at Penn State. This came after new Florida head coach Dan Mullen made the mistake of moving Sieder from running backs coach to tight ends coach, and then letting him go. Thanks, Dan!
Before coming to Penn State Seider, who is a Florida native and seemingly has connections to every major high school program in the state, coached at Marshall and his alma mater West Virginia, in addition to coaching for the Gators. Through his previous coaching stops Seider has made countless recruiting ties, and these have come into play at Penn State.
Since arriving in Happy Valley Seider has proven to be worth every penny he is paid. Seider first made his impact on the recruiting trail. He helped the Nittany Lions rally in Devyn Ford’s recruitment, as Penn State landed the top-100 running back.
Seider’s Florida connections would then begin to pay off as his relationship with four-star Miami wide receiver, and former Florida commit, John Dunmore led to the Nittany Lions surprising everyone and landing the Sunshine State star. Led by Seider, the Nittany Lions pulled another upset by landing four-star IMG Academy running back Noah Cain to go with Ford in their 2019 recruiting class. Seider struck again in January when his connections to the Sunshine State helped the Nittany Lions land wide receiver TJ Jones.
In the current recruiting cycle Seider has continued to work his magic. Last Friday, Penn State landed a commit from four-star Florida play maker Caziah Holmes. They are also the 247Sports Crystal Ball favorites to land fellow four-star Florida running back Keyvone Lee who is set to commit on August 26th.
Seider’s impact has also been felt on the field. Under his tutelage Miles Sanders rushed for 1,274 yards. This was the 11th highest single season rushing total in program history and helped springboard Sanders to becoming a 2nd round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Draft.
With the help of Seider’s coaching, Ricky Slade flashed as a true freshman in 2018. The former five-star recruit showed elite burst and quickness on his way to averaging 5.7 yards per carry to go with 6 touchdowns last fall.
With Slade, Cain, Ford, and Journey Brown, Penn State figures to have a loaded running back room in 2019. This group being led by Seider should only add to the faith fans should have in this group.
18 months into his tenure as Penn State running backs coach Seider has been worth every penny. Hopefully, Sandy Barbour will find a way to give him a lifetime contract and a Brinks truck, because he has earned it.