STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – New Mississippi State football head coach Joe Moorhead has made his first hire as Charles Huff has been named assistant head coach, run game coordinator and running backs coach for the Bulldogs, it was announced on Friday.
Huff, currently ranked the No. 4 recruiter in America by 247Sports.com, spent the past four seasons (2014-17) as Penn State’s running backs coach and special teams coordinator. He recruited and developed one of the game’s most electrifying players in 2017 Heisman Trophy candidate Saquon Barkley.
“Charles is a tremendous fit for our program,” Moorhead said. “He is intelligent and has an incredible work ethic. He does an outstanding job at teaching fundamentals, and he is a phenomenal recruiter. He is someone our players will really embrace.”
Huff just completed his 13th season of coaching, which includes NFL and Southeastern Conference experience. In addition to Penn State, he’s served at Western Michigan (2013), the Buffalo Bills (2012), Vanderbilt (2011), Hampton (2010), Maryland (2009) and Tennessee State (2006-08).
“I am excited to be here and ready to get to work,” Huff said. “I look forward to getting to know our players as people and can’t wait to get on the field with them. I am also excited to be a part of the Starkville community. It’s very clear that this is a special place, a tight-knit community that has been very successful. With Joe’s leadership and the team we have coming back, we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Records have fallen at the running back position and on special teams under Huff’s guidance at Penn State. Barkley became the first Big Ten running back in history to win Offensive Player of the Year honors twice. This season, Barkley rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns, while catching 47 passes for 594 yards and three more scores. He was the first Nittany Lion running back to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors in three straight seasons in 20 years. A Walter Camp National Player of the Year finalist, Barkley ranked second nationally in all-purpose yards in 2017, putting up 179.5 yards per game.
The 2016 season saw the Nittany Lions claim the Big Ten Championship, and it was Huff who mentored two record breakers. Barkley broke the Penn State sophomore record for rushing yards (1,496), all-purpose yards (1,972) and points scored (132) en route to winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year.
Junior kicker Tyler Davis collected All-Big Ten first team honors after tying the Big Ten season record for kicking points (128) and breaking the school record for field goals by a junior (22) and consecutive field goals made (18). Davis also won the Vlade Award for the nation’s most accurate kicker, given by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
Huff recruited Barkley to Penn State, and his freshman season of 2015 was spectacular. The Freshman All-American broke the school freshman season rushing record with 1,076 yards. He was named the Big Ten Network’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year in the process.
Huff spent the 2013 season at Western Michigan as the running backs coach and helped the unit nearly double its rushing yards from 2012. The Broncos ran for 1,394 yards in 2013 after running for just 735 yards the year before.
Huff’s tenure includes one year in the NFL. During the 2012 season as the assistant running backs coach for the Buffalo Bills, he helped C.J. Spiller to his first career 1,000-yard rushing campaign and a Pro Bowl invitation. The Bills topped 2,000 rushing yards as a team for the first time in 13 seasons and ranked sixth in the NFL with 2,217 yards in 2012.
Huff was also a member of James Franklin’s 2011 staff at Vanderbilt as the offensive quality control coach and they worked together at Maryland in 2009, when Huff was the assistant offensive line coach.
Huff mentored NFL first-round pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the tight ends and special teams coach at Tennessee State from 2007-08. Rodgers-Cromartie was all-conference return specialist.
The Denton, Md., native is a 2005 graduate of Hampton University. He served as a team captain, starting 12 games at center as a senior in 2005. He also played guard, fullback and tight end in his career.
Huff was a member of three Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) championships, including the undefeated 2005 squad. The Pirates also made two FCS playoff appearances during his playing days.
The Charles Huff File
Hometown: Denton, Md.
Education: Hampton University, 2005 (B.S. Physical Education)
Birthday: April 26, 1983
2017-present: Mississippi State (Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Running Backs)
2014-17: Penn State (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs)
2013: Western Michigan (Running Backs)
2012: Buffalo Bills (Assistant Running Backs)
2011: Vanderbilt (Offensive Quality Control)
2010: Hampton (Offensive Line)
2009: Maryland (Assistant Offensive Line)
2007-08: Tennessee State (Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends)
2006: Tennessee State (Offensive Line)
Bowl Games as a Coach
2016: Rose Bowl (Penn State)
2015: TaxSlayer Bowl (Penn State)
2014: Pinstripe (Penn State)
2011: Liberty Bowl (Vanderbilt)