Penn State hires new coach: 3 things to know about Marques Hagans

Frank Bodani
York Daily Record

Penn State is hiring a longtime Virginia Cavalier to be its new receivers coach.

Marques Hagans, who served on Virginia's staff for the past decade, has been hired to lead what may be the Nittany Lions' biggest question area heading into the 2023 season.

Hagans is the fifth receivers coach to work under James Franklin since he arrived at Penn State in 2014. Franklin and the university officially parted ways a week ago with assistant and previous receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield.

Hagans, 40, will be in charge of developing a talented and deep position room that lacks ever-important consistency and productivity − at least from those at Penn State.

James Franklin went to Virginia to find his latest wide receivers coach. Marques Hagans is Franklin's fifth assistant to coach receivers since 2014.

The Lions return their No. 3 (KeAndre Lambert-Smith) and No. 4 (Tre Wallace) receiver options from last season and a bunch of unproven possibilities behind them. The team, however, did add two promising wideouts from the transfer portal last week in former Kent State star Dante Cephus and 6-foot-4 former Florida State Seminole Malik McClain.

Hagans does have one particular Penn State tie: He and Anthony Poindexter, the Lions' co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, worked on the same Virgina staff from 2011-13.

Hagans was a receiver (and quarterback) in Virginia, NFL

Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans, left, scrambles away from Miami linebacker Leon Williams.

Hagans was a dual-threat receiver and quarterback for the Cavaliers two decades ago.

He then stuck in the NFL for five seasons, almost exclusively as a receiver. He was a fifth-round pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2006 and also played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts before finishing in Washington (2008-10).

At Virginia, Hagans caught a career-best 28 passes as a sophomore. He was the team's starting quarterback as a senior and threw for nearly 2,500 yards with 14 touchdowns, completing 62 percent of his passes.

He graduated from Virginia with an anthropology degree.

Hagans is a talent developer

He began his coaching career as a Virginia grad assistant and eventually became entrenched as a receivers coach and, later, associate head coach.

He was regarded highly enough to survive a couple of head coaching changes.

His best work may have come in 2021. He helped lead a dynamic Cavaliers' offense that featured four receivers with more than 600 yards each, including Dontayvion Wicks (1,203).

"If there was one person that everybody said you have to keep, it was Marques Hagans," Virginia head coach Tony Elliott said a year ago, via Wahoos247. "(Hagans) is a quiet guy but is a very deliberate guy. He’s an intentional guy."

Virginia's all-time receivers list is filled with players who learned under Hagans, including current Atlanta Falcon Olamide Zaccheaus.

In 2019, Hagans helped Virginia win the ACC Coastal Division, relying on three receivers who each had 70-plus receptions − Joe Reed, Hasise Dubois and Terrell Jana. Dubois made 75 catches without a drop, according to Pro Football Focus.

Hagans own strong DMV recruiting ties

Penn State recruiting lives in the DMV (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) region.

Hagans developed a reputation as a strong recruiter who often went head-to-head with Penn State's staff. As a Virginia native who played and coached there in college, he owns key relationships and ties in one of the Lions' most important recruiting states and surrounding areas.

"If you thought Penn State was already recruiting the state of Virginia add an elite level, just wait until Hagans gets on the case," Rivals Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman told "The longtime receivers coach at the University of Virginia has deep ties to the movers and shakers throughout key areas like Virginia Beach and Richmond. Expect Penn State to not only land big time linemen and defenders like they have been but look for an uptick in offensive talent coming from the Virginia and landing in State College."

Frank Bodani covers Penn State football for the York Daily Record and USA Today Network. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @YDRPennState.