“We did not want to lose him.”
That’s what a source from the Vanderbilt football program said to me Monday night when asked about new Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.
After coach Derek Mason dismissed his offensive coordinator Gerry Gdowski, Moorehead’s position was one they did not want to replace:
“After two coordinator searches in two years [previous OC Andy Ludwig left after the 2018 season], Aaron was someone we wanted to keep around. But when he told us this is the opportunity of a lifetime, his ‘dream job’ as he told us, we knew we’d have to replace him too.”
Before coming to Vanderbilt, Moorehead was a graduate assistant at New Mexico in 2009, graduate assistant at Stanford from 2010-2012, wide receivers coach in Virginia Tech from 2013-2014, and wide receivers coach at Texas A&M from 2015-2017. He spent 2018-2019 with Vanderbilt as their wide receivers coach.
“He did really well with [Christian] Kirk at Texas A&M and was able to have the same impact with [Kalija] Lipscomb here. As a junior, Kalija led the SEC in receptions  and had nine touchdowns. Aaron helped him get to where he is now which is third in school history in receptions and second in touchdowns to a guy you know very well: Jordan Matthews.”
Former Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews leads Vanderbilt in receptions and touchdowns with 261 and 24 respectively. Lipscomb finished his career with 198 receptions and 22 touchdowns. Lipscomb’s junior year performance landed him on the All-SEC second team, along side Deebo Samuel.
The team also went to a bowl game that season, losing in the Texas Bowl:
“Getting to a Bowl game is huge for us, since Vanderbilt isn’t really known as a football school. But Aaron was a huge part of getting us there.”
His numbers could’ve been even greater this season if it weren’t for the volatile quarterback play:
“Kyle Shurmur, a last name all you Eagles people should know, was a rock solid quarterback for us for three years. With having four quarterbacks try to replace him this season, it was really hard getting anyone the ball. But Aaron’s guys played hard for him. He made them better.”
Strong coaching tree
While at New Mexico, he learned under current Maryland head coach Mike Locksley. At Stanford, he learned under David Shaw and Derek Mason. At Virginia Tech, he coached under Frank Beamer. While at Texas A&M, he was with Kevin Sumlin. He reunited with Derek Mason at Vanderbilt. Thos relationships helped mold Moorehead into the coach he is today:
“I’m not sure of any connections [Moorehead] has with the Eagles, but he had some strong leadership as a coach. Coach Mason wanted him on the staff here and that speaks volumes for how he was viewed.”
Well, Moorehead does have at least one connection. Tight end Zach Ertz was a standout tight end at Stanford from 2011-2012, which are the final two years of Moorehead’s Stanford career.
Why Eagles fans will love him
While at Vanderbilt, Moorehead took a keen interest in developing a skill that Eagles fans have longed for in a wide receiver:
“Moorehead took the time to work on his receivers’ hands. Kalija [Lipscomb] had 87 catches his junior year and not one drop. Aaron takes the time to develop that with his guys. The routes that ran were a direct reflection of Moorehead’s coaching and they were some great routes.”
After having seemingly endless drops in 2019, the Eagles receivers should improve in that area under new coach Aaron Moorehead.
When asked how Moorehead will transition to the NFL, the source said:
“Aaron won’t need too much help. He’ll find his way and the players will love playing for him. I promise you that.”
Moorehead will be Doug Pederson’s fifth wide receivers coach in as many years as he’s been head coach, but Moorehead has all the tools necessary to be a steady presence for years to come.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via AP Images