Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is departing the program to become head coach at Mississippi State. Reports of his decision surfaced Tuesday night, and Nittany Lions coach James Franklin didn’t hesitate to address the development Wednesday morning.
“Appreciate what [Moorhead] has done for our program,” Franklin wrote on Twitter. “Not only is he a great coach, but he is a better man! We wish him and his family the absolute best at Mississippi State!”
Moorhead left little doubt about his intentions by updating his Twitter page with images and text dedicated to Mississippi State.
Moorhead, who led Penn State’s offense to nearly 42 points per game during the 2017 regular season, leaves the Nittany Lions following an extremely impressive two-year tenure.
The team averaged 23.2 points per game in 2015 prior to his arrival. Under Moorhead’s management, Penn State produced 30 or more points in 18 of the past 22 contests. The Nittany Lions went 19-3 and won a Big Ten championship during this explosive stretch.
Along the way, several Penn State players established program records. Quarterback Trace McSorley leads the Nittany Lions all-time in touchdowns accounted for, Mike Gesicki leads every receiving category among tight ends, DaeSean Hamilton holds the high mark for career receptions, and Saquon Barkley has the most rushing touchdowns.
It didn’t take long for Moorhead to create a lasting impression on the Penn State football brand, and Franklin now must find a way to replace him. In contrast, the Bulldogs become the beneficiary of a dynamic run-pass option system that carved up so many opponents during these past 15 months.
Penn State players, such as receiver Juwan Johnson, swiftly reacted on social media by expressing appreciation for Moorhead’s accomplishments. Meanwhile, Nittany Lions recruits also reacted during discussions with Land of 10 late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
Most of these conversations included a pair of common themes:
- Genuine excitement about Moorhead receiving an opportunity to run his own Power 5 football program. Prospects clearly view this as a well-earned career step that wouldn’t make sense to turn down.
- Unwavering confidence that Penn State will continue to produce at a high level on offense, contributing toward sustained success in State College.
Below is a rundown of what we’ve heard from standout high school players who are committed to Penn State…
2018 offensive lineman Bryce Effner (Aurora, Ill.): “I think Coach Moorhead’s decision is his to make. I don’t have the information nor the authority to question that. I hope for the best for him and think PSU will continue to do great things without him.”
2019 cornerback Keaton Ellis (State College, Pa.): “It’s a business, and people will come and go. Got to respect his decision and wish him the best of luck going forward. No doubt in my mind that our offense moving forward will continue to produce as it has been.”
2018 tight end Pat Freiermuth (North Andover, Mass.): “I’m happy for him. Made the choice that best fits him and his family. It stinks but we’re going to be OK.”
2018 defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins (Cincinnati): “I trust that the next step at the OC position will be the right one. Coach Moorhead obviously did a terrific job and helped bring Penn State back to power. The train will keep rolling, though, and I’m confident in the players who will return next year, and the men in my class to help it become a smooth transition.”
2018 safety Isaiah Humphries (Sachse, Texas): “You can’t be mad. Business is business, and I respect that.”
2018 tight end Zack Kuntz (Camp Hill, Pa.): “I have 100 percent confidence in the coaches that they will set up their current players and the future players in my class for success. I look forward to starting [with early enrollment] in January.”
2018 linebacker Jesse Luketa (Erie, Pa.): “ I’m happy for him. It’s been a blessing to get to know him the past two years. I’m excited to see what he does at Mississippi State.”
2018 defensive tackle PJ Mustipher ( Owings Mills, Md.): “Great coach and even better person. Would’ve loved to experience his offense firsthand, but he’s made a decision and I’m happy for him. What’s next for PSU hasn’t changed. We have guys on the roster and in the recruiting class that can make plays all day long. We’re going to be great so no one should be worried.”
2019 quarterback Taquan Roberson (Wayne, N.J.): “Coach Moorhead’s my guy. I’m happy for him and for his family. Excited to see what happens next for our offense.”
The post Penn State recruits react to Mississippi State hiring Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead appeared first on Land of 10.