Barkley honored on day another assistant moves on

By Cory Giger

Saquon Barkley racked up some prestigious Big Ten awards Thursday, the same day news broke that Penn State’s running backs will have a new position coach next season.

Barkley was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He also was selected the league’s top running back and return specialist.

While none of that was a surprise, there was one Thursday.

PSU running backs coach and special teams coordinator Charles Huff will be leaving the program to join Joe Moorhead’s staff at Mississippi State, according to published reports.

Huff reportedly will be assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach under Moorhead, who will run the offense and call the plays for the Bulldogs to go along with head coaching duties.

Huff came to Penn State from Vanderbilt along with James Franklin and did strong work with the running backs. There were many struggles on special teams his first couple of years, but Franklin stuck with him in the coordinator role, and the units developed into big weapons the past two seasons.

Huff is highly regarded as a recruiter, so his efforts there could be heavily missed by the Nittany Lions.

With Moorhead and Huff leaving, Franklin now must replace two of his three coordinators.

The NCAA will allow teams to add a 10th assistant coach next season, so Franklin will be looking to hire three new coaches.

Barkley is the third player to be named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year multiple times, joining Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (2012 and ’13) and Purdue quarterback Drew Brees (1998 and 2000).

Barkley is just the second Big Ten player to win three major conference awards in the same season, joining Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers last year (Defensive Player, Linebacker, Return Specialist).

Barkley now will wait and see if he’s invited to next week’s Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York. He was the frontrunner for the award midway through the season before seeing his chances drop late.