Taylor Stubblefield is James Franklin’s third — and most recent — coaching hire this offseason, all on offense.
Stubblefield twice faced Penn State as a player at Purdue, winning games in both 2003 and 2004, while grabbing 13 passes.
Since then, he’s been everywhere. Well, almost.
He’s had tryouts in the NFL as an undrafted free agent, stints in the Canadian Football League as both a player and coach, and assistant coaching jobs from coast to coast. His first assistant coaching job was at Central Michigan in 2007. And his most recent, before Penn State, was in 2019 at the University of Miami (Fla.).
There’s been a whole lot of in-between.
Here’s a look at Stubblefield’s coaching and playing career, from 1 to 21 (his jersey number):
BY THE NUMBERS
1. in 2009, Stubblefield’s first season with Illinois State, Eyad Salem of Illinois State was a first-team All-Missouri Valley with a school-record 92 receptions for 943 yards (10.2 ypc) and six TDs. Salem had 63 catches for 843 yards (13.4) and eight TDs the previous season.
2. Stubblefield is one of two former service academy wide receivers coaches to guide the Penn State receivers over the past three seasons. David Corley, first hired by Franklin to coach the running backs but shortly thereafter shifted to WR, coached the Nittany Lion receivers in 2018. Army wide receivers caught nine passes for 153 yards in the 2017 season under Corley.
Stubblefield coached the Air Force wide receivers in 2017-18 for a team that relied heavily on the run. In 2017, Falcon WRs caught 62 passes for 932 yards (15 ypc) for eight TDs. In 2018, they caught 67 passes for 1,202 yards (a stellar 17.9 ypc) and six TDs. Over those two seasons, Marcus Bennett was AFA’s top wide receiver, with 43 receptions for 863 yards (20.1 ypc) and six TD receptions in 2017-18.
3. When he became head coach at Miami (Fla.) last season, Manny Diaz hired three Central Michigan coaches from its 2011 squad to guide his offense: Offensive coordinator/QB coach Dan Enos (who was the head coach at CMU), Butch Barry (OL coach at CMU and Miami) and Stubblefield, who coached the WR’s at CMU and Miami. That season at CMU, three of Stubblefield’s receivers were named third-team All-MAC.
In 2019, the Hurricanes averaged 25.7 points per game while going 6-7. In their last three games — against Florida International, Duke and Louisiana Tech — the Miami offense averaged 15 completions on 33 attempts, scored just 13.7 points per game and threw for over 163 yards just once. Both Enos and Barry were fired.
4. Stubblefield had four pro football stints: They consisted of tryouts with the Carolina Panthers (2005) and St. Louis Rams (2006) in the NFL, and short appearances with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2005 and 2006. According to Tiger-Cats’ team records, in 2005 he appeared in two games and had one catch, for seven yards.
5. Five days ago (last Tuesday) Stubblefield celebrated his 38th birthday.
6. In 2003, against Penn State as a wide receiver at Purdue, Stubblefield had six catches for 39 yards, plus two runs for 11 yards, in a 28-14 win in West Lafayette. In a rematch in Beaver Stadium in 2004, Stubblefield caught a 40-yard TD pass from Kyle Orton in a 20-13 victory. He finished with seven receptions for 63 yards.
7. In his single season as WR coach at Wake Forest in 2013, Stubblefield tutored Michael Campanaro, who was named second-team All-ACC after catching 67 passes for 803 yards and six TDs. Campanaro was picked in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He played four seasons with Baltimore, grabbing 19 passes for 310 yards and one TD.
8. Counting Stubblefield, the Penn State wide receiver group in 2020 will include eight freshmen — of sorts. John Dunmore and TJ Jones will be redshirt freshmen in the fall, while the incoming Class of 2020 true freshmen features Jaden Dottin, KeAndre Lambert, Malick Meiga and Parker Washington. Norval Black is a JUCO transfer slated for his first season at PSU.
9. Nine catches is the difference between 316 and 325 career receptions at Purdue for Stubblefield. Most bios give him 316 receptions in his four years at Purdue, but the 2019 online Purdue media guide lists him No. 1 all-time, with 325 receptions, as does his Purdue bio in the media guide. His supporting year-by-year stats on the Purdue website give him annual receptions of 73, 77, 86 and 89 — which equals 325.
10. As a player, Stubblefield ranks No. 2 in Big Ten history for receiving yards, with 3,629 yards. He led the Big Ten two times in receptions. He was first-team All-Big Ten as a senior.
11. Franklin is the 11th head coach for whom Stubblefield has actually coached, not counting a short stint at Eastern Michigan. (See No. 14.) He often gets a head coach coming or going, which may explain his peripatetic nature:
Stubblefield coached the last season of the head coach’s reign at Central Washington (Blaine Bennett), Eastern Michigan (Jeff Genyk), Wake Forest (Jim Grobe) and the Toronto Argonauts (Scott Milanovich). He coached the first season of the head coach’s reign at Eastern Michigan (Brock Spack), New Mexico (Bob Davie) and Miami, Fla. (Manny Diaz). He lasted just one season at each of the seven schools.
12. The 2020 season will be Stubblefield’s 14th season and 12th job as an assistant coach. He’s been at Central Washington, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Central Michigan, New Mexico, Wake Forest, Eastern Michigan, Utah, Toronto (CFL), Air Force, Miami (Fla.) and Penn State.
13. Stubblefield has coached 13 seasons
14. In 2014, Stubblefield was at three schools: Following his 2013 stint at Wake Forest, he left in February 2014 for Eastern Michigan, where he was for six days before taking a job at Utah. That’s reminiscent of Gerad Parker, his predecessor at Penn State — Parker’s resume prior to PSU included offseason stints at both Cincinnati and East Carolina (though he never ended up coaching on the field at either school) — and Penn State’s new offensive line coach Phil Trautwein, who was at Yale for two weeks before taking a better gig at Boston College.
15. Stubblefield’s best record and last winning as an assistant came in 2015 at Utah, when the Utes were 10-3 under head coach Kyle Whittingham. (In his two seasons at Utah, the Utes’ passing game never finished better than 11th in the Pac-12.) Division II Central Washington also went 10-3 in 2007, Stubblefield’s first season as a college coach.
16. Stubblefield holds the Purdue record for most TD catches (16) in a season, set in 2004.
17. The next Nittany Lion assistant hire will be the 17th PSU coach on the offensive side of the ball in Franklin’s seven years, counting CJF himself and Cotton Bowl interim QB coach Kirk Campbell.
Counting Franklin, and special teams coordinators Joe Lorig and Phil Galiano — who have assisted with the defense in addition to their ST duties — the Penn State defense has had eight.
18. Penn State’s leading wide receiver entering the 2020 season is junior Jahan Dotson, who in 2019 averaged 18.07 yards per catch on 27 receptions, five of them for touchdowns.
19. The Nittany Lions have three additional returning WRs who caught a pass in 2019. Redshirt sophomore Daniel Gorge (9), redshirt junior Cam Sullivan-Brown (8), redshirt senior Isaac Lutz and redshirt junior Mac Hippenhammer (1) combined for 19 receptions.
20. The Miami Hurricanes had five receivers who caught 20 or more passes in 2019, led by KJ Osborn, who had 50 receptions for 547 yards and five TDs. In 2018, they had four.
21. At Purdue, Stubblefield’s jersey was No. 21. He also finished his Boilermaker career with 21 touchdown receptions.