Penn State running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider arrived in Happy Valley last January following one season on the Florida Gators staff and a four-year tenure with the West Virginia Mountaineers. His son, Jaden Seider, intends to make State College a long-term landing spot.
“Home for the next four years,” he tweeted Tuesday night.
Jaden, who handled backup quarterback duties and primary special teams holder responsibilities for State College High School in 2018, intends to enroll at the university and join Penn State football next year as a preferred walk-on player. James Franklin and his staff have assembled an expansive list of walk-on talent for 2019, and another local recruit could eventually add to it.
Cohen Russell, a slot back and defensive back who shares the Little Lions football roster with Seider at State College, earned a preferred walk-on opportunity from Penn State in September. He still aims to add scholarship options after a senior season in which he tallied 1,142 total yards, 61 tackles and 13 touchdowns.
Keaton Ellis, another State College senior who shined at cornerback, receiver and kick returner this fall, committed to the Nittany Lions last September. The son of a former Penn State player, he became pledge No. 1 of PSU’s 2019 recruiting class and is now only one week away from solidifying plans during college football’s early signing period.
Ellis, a four-star talent and top-three Pennsylvania prospect in 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, expressed enthusiasm earlier this season while discussing a chance to be joined by current teammates in a college locker room. He finished the 2018 campaign with 1,376 all-purpose yards, 51 tackles, 4 interceptions and 19 touchdowns, and can already look ahead to reuniting with multiple former fellow Little Lions at Penn State.
Seider, who collected 156 total yards as a senior, according to MaxPreps, is listed 5-10, 175 pounds on the Little Lions roster. He shared news of preferred walk-on potential at PSU in early November, midway through his father’s first season on the staff.
The elder Seider first led a collegiate running back room at Marshall (2010-12). He was an accomplished college quarterback at Florida A&M, earning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 1999 after throwing for 2,512 yards and 27 touchdowns. The San Diego Chargers used a sixth-round selection on him in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Recognized as a premier recruiter in his native South Florida, Seider has spearheaded expanded PSU efforts in the Sunshine State. He helped the Nittany Lions secure a commitment from four-star receiver John Dunmore (Hollywood, Fla.), while taking on a central role in the pursuit of prized IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) running back Noah Cain and blue-chip athlete Mark-Antony Richards (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
“You don’t hire Ja’Juan and not recruit Florida,” Franklin said on National Signing Day 2018. “We have recruited Florida in the past, but obviously, once you make this decision, you’re going to recruit it harder.”