Following in his former offensive coordiantor’s footsteps, Penn state running backs coach Charles Huff will be coaching in Starkville, Mississippi in 2018.
A few days after it was announced that former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead would be leaving the program to be become the 33rd head coach of Mississippi State, it was released that Charles Huff will become Moorhead’s co-offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and running backs coach.While Moorhead will serve as the primary play caller, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to think Huff will have at least a hand in the process of building the playbook.
Huff spent the last four season in State College as the running backs and special teams coach. Prior to his time with Penn State, Huff was the running backs coach at Western Michigan University as well as an assistant running backs coach with the Buffalo Bills. 2017 marked Huff’s 13 season as a coach. He was team captain in his playing days as a running back at Hampton University.
It seems that Huff may be the only coach that he’s bringing with him to Mississippi State from State College. It would be rational for Moorhead to incorporate local coaches that have a better understanding of the surrounding states, and more importantly, their players. Look for at least a handful of coaches hailing from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, or Florida who have a better grasp on the demographic than Moorhead.
Both Huff and Moorhead have made claims that they will not pursue recruits already committed to, or are recruited by, Penn State, including those that the pair personally recruited. Those recruits include Virginia running back commit, Ricky Slade, who has publicly announced that he remains 100 percent committed to Penn State despite the move. His father reiterated those sentiments earlier today. This comes as big news for Penn State faithful, who feared the coaching change may alter Slade’s decision as the back was predominantly recruited by Huff. Slade is a tremendous talent who will have a legitimate shot at cracking the starting lineup as both a running back and kick returner for the Nittany Lions. He and Miles Sanders could prove to be the best running back tandem in the country in 2018.
What the Nittany Lions will be losing in Huff’s departure is a relentless and talented recruiter. Many young recruits and their families have seemed extremely happy with Huff’s ability to recruit, as if evident by the talent pool that Penn State has gathered over the last few seasons under James Franklin.
It will be no short order to replace Huff moving forward. Franklin will do well to make a move sooner rather than later, as the longer he waits, the less of a selection he’ll have to choose from. One benefit Franklin has is the school’s namesake. Many coaches dream of running out of Beaver Stadium along side their players. This opening will likely have many interested candidates. Despite a large congregation to select from, Franklin will need to pick the right candidate for the job, one that can recruit high school athletes and turn them into better football players and young men. Huff did an excellent job at both.
Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports