UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — After a dozen years coaching his alma mater, new Penn State receivers coach Marques Hagans says he’s ready for a new challenge.

“It was a great opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” said Hagans. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but couldn’t turn down.”

Hagans isn’t exactly a stranger to Keystone State. He grew up with Allen Iverson in Hampton, VA, he played in the NFL for Washington, and his close relationship with Penn State safeties coach Anthony Poindexter played a critical role in his hiring.

“He’s [Poindexter] looked up to he’s probably one of the best players to ever play at UVA,” said Hagans. “And so just the respect that he has and the respect that and he garners every day is one of the reasons why my son’s name is Christopher Dex. That’s a big part of who he is to me and my family. So, the opportunity to reunite with him here is a big part of that.” 

Before becoming a defensive coach, Poindexter was an offensive assistant at UVA, where he directly worked with Hagans. Poindexter was still on the staff when Hagans was hired by Virginia in 2012 and pushed for him to come to Happy Valley.

“Having Coach Poindexter on my staff and I think you guys know how I feel about him, and his family and for them, and for him specifically to vouch for Marques and the family, you know, that carried a lot of weight,” said James Franklin, Penn State head football coach.

Hagans initially played quarterback in college, before making the move to receiver after he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

It’s a mixture of experience quarterback Drew Allar believes could be invaluable.

“I think his experience playing college quarterback, he can provide insight into what the receivers are seeing for us and what the what we see to the receivers just because he knows how it how it is like playing quarterback and being in this position,” said Allar. “And I think it’s just going to be another tool for us to communicate with.”