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Penn State has a long history of developing in-state running backs

The Penn State football team has an excellent track record of developing in-state running backs.



Ja'Juan Seider, Penn State football
Oct 27, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Miles Sanders (24) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Iowa 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night, unexpectedly the Penn State football team earned a new commitment from one of the top prospects in the 2026 class Messiah Mickens. At this point, it feels like an easy decision to make if you’re a highly recruited prospect when you stop and look at the track record for developing running backs from Pennsylvania. Mickens currently attends Trinity High School located in Camp Hill, PA. It’s a testament to running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider for not only his work ethic in recruiting these great prospects but also for helping them develop into stars on the field.

Penn State has a long history of developing in-state running backs

Penn State football running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider joined the Nittany Lions ahead of the 2018 season. The year after Saquan Barkley left State College to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL. During the 2018 season, Seider helped guide Miles Sanders out of Pittsburgh, PA to 1,274 rushing yards and the team averaged 204.9 rushing yards per game during Seider’s first season in State College.

Miles Sanders went on to become a 2nd round pick in the 2019 NFL draft to the Philedipha Eagles. Then, all eyes turned towards Ricky Slade, Noah Cain, and Journey Brown who looked to fill the shoes of Miles Sanders. Journey Brown went on to have one of the greatest seasons in recent memory not because of his statistical performance but due to his growth that season and what ended up being the final season of his career. The running back from Meadville, PA rushed for 880 yards and ran for a Penn State bowl game record with 202 yards in the 2019 Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, Brown was forced to medically retire prior to the 2020 season.

Fast forward to the 2022 season when recruiting was back to normal in 2021 (after the COVID19 Pandemic restrictions) and Ja’Juan Seider was able to land five-star prospect Nick Singleton from Shillington, PA. Last season, Singleton went on to rush for 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2022. He and teammate Kaytron Allen look to continue their dominance this fall.

Future In-State Prospects

Ja’Juan Seider’s work doesn’t stop with the current roster, he has two more players in the 2024 recruiting class and the 2026 recruiting class that looks to be the future of the position room. Starting with highly recruited Quinton Martin in the 2024 class this four-star prospect from Belle Vernon, PA looks to carry the torch once Singleton and Allen move onto the NFL.

Then, in 2026 it’s four-star Messiah Mickens from Camp Hill, PA who also looks like he could end up being the top prospect from Pennsylvania in the 2026 recruiting class when it’s all said and done. Ja’Juan Seider continues to prove his worth time and time again and the program would not be in the position it’s currently in without his hard work.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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