Penn State Football: Ja'Juan Seider Still Cookin' in Happy Valley - NittanyCentral

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Penn State Football: Ja’Juan Seider Still Cookin’ in Happy Valley

He is an integral unsung piece of the Penn State Football puzzle.

He’s the assistant head coach and spent the final weeks of the 2023 season as the Nittany Lions‘ co-offensive coordinator, which is quite a rapid ascension seeing that head coach James Franklin brought him to Happy Valley just five years ago to be his running backs coach, a title that he still maintains today.

He is Ja’Juan Seider and in his first year as the Nittany Lions‘ running backs coach, in 2018, the Lions rushed for 204.9 yards per game. It was the highest per game total since 2008, when PSU rushed for 205.8.

Penn State Football, Nick Singleton
Nicholas Singleton #10 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

That year, Seider  was instrumental in Miles  Sanders‘ development and success. Sanders exploded for 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, once Sequon Barkley had moved on. He went on to help lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance last year before signing as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers last off-season.

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Ja’Juan Seider: The Running Back Whisperer of Penn State Football

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions Running Back Kaytron Allen ((Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Currently, the Belle Grade Florida native has the luxury of being the position coach for two of the most dynamic running backs in the country, in Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton. Not bad for a guy who didn’t even play the position in college.

Seider spent four years as a back-up quarterback at West Virginia before transferring to Florida A & M for his senior year, where he earned MEAC Offensive Player of the Year honors back in 1999. That year earned him a look by the San Diego Chargers, who drafted Seider in the 6th round later that year.

But, Seider put himself on the map as a the running back whisperer when he was hired by his alma mater in 2013 and would amazingly  produce 1,000-yard rushers three of the four years he spent at West Virginia in Charles Sims, Wendell Smallwood and Justin Crawford.


Why Ja’Juan Seider is so Valuable to James Franklin, Penn State Football

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports)

What most people don’t know though is that Seider doesn’t just help “make the meal”, he also has carved out himself a huge role in picking the ingredients.

He has become known as one of the top recruiters in the country and it shows.

Seider recruited both Allen and Singleton, 4 and 5-star recruits respectively and has also received commitments from 5-star running back Messiah Mickens, who will be along in a few years and 4-star recruit King Mack, who is currently a safety for the Nits, just to name a few.

Of course, the biggest name he’s ever landed was Tight End Kyle Pitts, from Archbishop Wood, when Seider spent a year at Florida as their running backs coach the year before Franklin hired him away from Gainesville.

Pitts was the 4th pick in the 2021 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

Coach Seider, much like former Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has thrived in Happy Valley and says he loves his role there and if Penn State is his last stop, well he’s just fine with that.

He went on to say that he still wants to be a head coach, but has turned down job opportunities because he won’t “just leave” the Nittany Lions for any random gig.

That says a lot about the culture and mind set that Franklin has created not only for his players but his staff as well.

MORE: How Penn State Can Secure a Top-10 Recruiting Class in 2025

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Joe Staszak
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