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Penn State Defensive Line Coach Big Board: Who Will Replace John Scott Jr.?

Big Boards give me LIFE

It had been a quiet few weeks for Penn State football, but that changed on Monday night when it reported (and then confirmed) that defensive line coach John Scott Jr. was headed to the Detroit Lions. While we here at BSD give our best to Scott Jr. on his future endeavors, his departure mean it’s time for the best three words in college football offseason blogging:

Coaching.

Big.

Board.


THE BIGGINS

Elijah Robinson
School: Texas A&M
Position: Defensive line
Age: 38

The year is 2036. It is a time of great development and technology. Penn State basketball is back-to-back-to-back NCAA NIT Champions. Billy Fessler is wrapping up his third season as Penn State’s head football coach, and Elijah Robinson is still at Texas A&M but flirting with the Nittany Lions over the defensive line coach job.

Robinson was a candidate to take over for Sean Spencer back in 2020, but A&M ended up ponying up a reported $800,000+ to keep him in Aggieland. Then last year, there was smoke that Robinson was a candidate for the defensive coordinator job, but that ended up going to Manny Diaz.

Personally, I don’t view Robinson as all that viable of a candidate this time around. Yes, it seems like Penn State has some extra juice (see: money) this time around compared to 2020, but it would essentially take seven figures to pry Robinson away from A&M. That just seems unlikely.

Charlie Partridge
School: Pitt
Position: Defensive line
Age: 49

Partridge’s bio on Pitt’s website aptly states that he’s “considered the nation’s finest teacher of defensive line play” and that could very well be true. Given that he hasn’t been working with a gluttony of four-and-five-stars at Pitt, his results have been tremendous, producing NFL talents like Patrick Jones II, Rashad Weaver, and Jalen Tywman. Add in that Calijah Kancey will join that trio come this upcoming draft, and that’s some extremely impressive results at a place like Pitt.

LITERALLY WORKED FOR JAMES FRANKLIN

Sean Spencer
School: Florida
Position: Co-DC and defensive line
Age: 52

Ah, Coach Chaos. After two seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants, Chaos made his way back to the college game last offseason, becoming the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Florida. While their past leads one to believe that Franklin and Chaos are likely still close, it would take a monumental financial commitment to get Spencer back in Happy Valley. The Gators are currently paying him $1,000,000 per year.

Andrew Jackson
School: West Virginia
Position: Defensive line
Age: 34

A graduate assistant here in Happy Valley under Coach Chaos from 2015-2016, Jackson has quickly moved up the coaching ranks. His first full-time gig was with Fordham in 2017, before jumping to Mississippi State (quality control), James Madison (DTs), and Old Dominion (DL) the following three seasons. He finally settled in at West Virginia, where he’s been the defensive line coach for the last two seasons. Strong recruiter and a solid coach who is just hitting his stride for the level of coach he’ll become.

Deion Barnes
School: Penn State
Position: Analyst
Age: 30

Barnes certainly deserves a mention given that he likely turned down other FBS opportunities to stay at Penn State as an analyst, but going from a GA to the full-time defensive line coach at a place like Penn State is just such a massive jump. Perhaps Barnes is up for it? Certainly James Franklin would have a better idea than myself.

OKAY DIDN’T WORK FOR FRANKLIN BUT THEY HAVE WORKED WITH ANOTHER STAFF MEMBER BEFORE

Al Washington
School: Notre Dame
Position: Defensive line
Age: 38

A longtime favorite of mine, Washington coached with Phil Trautwein at Boston College from 2013-2015. Washington eventually made his way to Michigan and then Ohio State where he coached linebackers, but he was back on the defensive line this past season at Notre Dame. Great recruiter who I thought did a nice job with Notre Dame’s front this past season.

Tyler Stockton
School: Ball State
Position: Defensive coordinator & inside linebackers
Age: 32

New Jersey native. Played football at Notre Dame (chose the Irish over Penn State), graduating with his MBA in 2014. Coached at Western Illinois with Ty Howle from 2016-2018, before moving to Ball State where he’s been the defensive coordinator since 2019. Although he hasn’t coached the defensive line since 2017, Stockton has a really impressive resume so it’s no surprise that he’s viewed as one of the rising star coaches in the industry.

Ben Albert
School: UMass
Position: Defensive line
Age: 50

Another guy who coached with Trautwein at Boston College from 2013-2015, Albert has coached up-and-down the east coast over the last 20 years with stops at Richmond, Rutgers, Delaware, Temple, Duke, and now his alma mater UMass. He’s best known for his time at Duke (‘16-’21), where he was one of the best recruiters for the Blue Devils while developing some really solid players — Victor Dimukeje, Chris Rumph II, Derrick Tangelo, Trevon McSwain, DeWayne Carter, etc.

Walter Stewart
School: Cincinnati
Position: Defensive line
Age: 32

Having coached with Penn State analyst Gabe Infante at Temple, Stewart checks a lot of boxes James Franklin might be looking for — he’s young, has ties to the recruiting area, and has been productive at each stop. He’s a Bearcat alum that was retained by Scott Satterfield so he might be tougher pull than initially expected, but even with UC’s move to the Big 12, Penn State could be a job that piques the interest of Stewart.

Jess Simpson
School: Duke
Position: Defensive line
Age: 52

Simpson has never coached above the Mason-Dixon line, but he coached with and for Manny Diaz at Miami during two separate stints as the defensive line coach in 2018 and 2021. Bringing Simpson to Happy Valley would hopefully open up Penn State to some Georgia prospects, given Simpson’s strong ties to the Peach State — he coached at Buford High School from 1995 through 2015.

OTHER NAMES I LIKE BUT THEY DON’T HAVE A DIRECT TIE TO THE STAFF BUT I AM GOING TO MENTION THEM ANYWAY BECAUSE IF THEY DO GET HIRED I CAN GLOAT THAT I WAS RIGHT

Eli Rasheed
School: Iowa State
Position: Defensive line
Age: 50

Rasheed has been with Matt Campbell at both Toledo and Iowa State, and if there’s anything to know about Campbell, it’s that he loves defense. Not going to stick with Campbell for a decade-plus if you stink.

Larry Black
School: Vanderbilt
Position: Defensive line
Age: 32

Another young guy, but super high energy. I am a fan of anyone who looks like they just ran a 5K after coaching practice. Really solid resume so fa toor; GA at Notre Dame, DL coach at Toledo for three seasons before taking over at Vanderbilt last year.

Sterling Lucas
School: South Carolina
Position: Defensive ends/outside linebackers
Age: 33

He just wrapped up his first season with South Carolina, but spent the previous six seasons in the NFL — five years with the Ravens and one year with the Jaguars. Like the idea of having an “NFL guy” on staff, even if he’s a bit unproven in the college game.