It took just a little over a week for Penn State to finds its new wide receivers coach, but James Franklin and the Nittany Lions made a statement hire by bringing over Marques Hagans from Virginia, according to multiple reports.
If you’ve been following along for a number of coaching “Big Boards” we’ve done over the years, Hagans has been an inclusion on quite a few of them.
There was wide receiver coach 2020:
“Hagans is a UVA-lifer — it would take multiple Brinks trucks to get him to leave Charlottesville. But Hagans is an intriguing option. One, he’d recruit Virginia — and specifically, the 757 tremendously well — and two, he has a nice track record of producing extremely productive wide receivers. Olamide Zaccheaus was an All-ACC product in 2017 and 2018, and this past season, Hagans had three wide receivers haul in 70+ receptions.” -1/11/20
There was tight end coach 2021:
“One of the best recruiters in the country, Hagans has manned a spot on the Virginia coaching staff since 2011, first serving as a GA before taking over the wide receivers in 2013. He has deep ties in the talent-rich Hampton Roads area of Virginia, which is why he’s constantly brought up for other SEC, ACC, and Big Ten jobs.” -2/3/21
And finally, there was the most previous installment a few days ago:
“Hagans is from Hampton, was a star quarterback for UVA, and has only coached at UVA, starting as a graduate assistant in 2011. He’s been the target for multiple Big Ten and SEC jobs, but yet has stayed loyal to the Hoos. Quite honestly, it’s getting to the point that I would be surprised if Hagans left for another college job, but he’d be an excellent hire and should be a main target for Penn State.” -1/16/23
So it’s safe to say I’ve been a big fan of Hagans, but as I presented in the last big board, it just didn’t seem like Hagans was ever going to make the move from Virginia. Fortunately for James Franklin, the situation at Penn State — the chance to legitimately compete for a CFP berth, familiarity with Anthony Poindexter, and I’m sure a hefty raise — was enticing enough to get Hagans to make the move.
Over the last 12 seasons at Virginia, Hagans has established himself as one of the best wide receiver coaches in the country. He’s produced first-team All-ACC and current NFL wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus in addition to other productive wideouts like Hasise Dubois (151 career receptions), Billy Kemp (192 career receptions), and Keytaon Thompson (138 career receptions).
On the recruiting trail, Hagans should step in and be one of the best recruiters on the staff. He has strong ties to Virginia and the rest of the DMV, but has also had success in Philadelphia (Zaccheaus) and New Jersey (Dubois) — all really important areas for Penn State. While his “all-time recruiter ranking” might lack some high-end four-stars, that has had more to do with recruiting to a school like Virginia than anything else.
At Penn State, Hagans will be expected to hit the ground running — both on the recruiting trail and especially within the wide receiver room itself. Hagans will be tasked with having to replace Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley, Penn State’s top two wideouts from last season. There are reinforcements coming with transfers Dante Cephas and Malik McClain, but it’ll be a pivotal offseason for Hagans to get the wide receiver group to where it needs to be.