James Franklin has hired Gerad Parker to coach receivers, the program announced on Thursday afternoon. Parker comes to Penn State after two seasons at Duke.
"We are excited to add Gerad to our staff," Franklin said in a press release. "He has a comprehensive background and knows the Big Ten. He is a terrific fit for our staff, university and community.
"He has a great opportunity to come in and make a significant impact both on and off the field with a very talented position group... Gerad played wide receiver in the SEC and has shown he is a great teacher of the position, as well. His wide receiver groups have been able to overachieve throughout his coaching career."
Before coaching at Duke, Parker, who played wide receiver at Kentucky, previously spent four seasons on the staff at Purdue, where he coached tight ends and receivers and served as recruiting coordinator. He was interim head coach of the Boilermakers for the final six weeks of 2016 after the firing of former head coach Darrell Hazell. During his tenure, he coached wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey to second-team All-Big Ten honors.
He was not retained by new head coach Jeff Brohm following the 2016 season. In February 2017, Parker was arrested in West Lafeyette, Ind., for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. According to court records, he is scheduled for a jury trial in Indiana on Jan. 17. At the time of the arrest, he was set to become wide receivers coach at East Carolina, which subsequently rescinded its offer.
In June 2017, Parker was hired by Duke, first as a football operations assistant for offense. He was named the Blue Devils' wide receivers coach for the 2018 season. Duke wide receivers totaled 2,252 receiving yards and the Blue Devils finished the season 53rd nationally in passing offense with wideout T.J. Rahming earning second-team All-ACC honors.
At Penn State, Parker inherits a talented receiving corps but one that was largely underwhelming relative to that talent with over 30 drops and inconsistent performances all season long. As a result Franklin fired receivers coach David Corley after just one season on the job. Corley was originally hired to coach running backs.
"I am extremely humbled and honored to have the chance to join the Penn State football program," Parker said. "I am so thankful to Coach James Franklin and the entire coaching staff. We as a family are certainly very excited to be a part of a place that has been built with such a passion for football and with such a storied history. Coach Franklin has done great things at Penn State and has high expectations of where this program can go. Personally, I feel I have been called on this Earth to coach wideouts and help grow men, what better place to do that than Penn State, a place that is high in talent and has a chance to compete for championships."
Parker coached with current Penn State running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider while at Marshall, where Parker was wide receivers coach in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, Marshall wide receiver Tommy Shuler led the country and set the school record for receptions with 110.
In other coaching news, former Penn State receivers coach Josh Gattis will be named Michigan's next offensive coordinator after one season as co-offensive coordinator at Alabama, according to multiple reports on Thursday.