Within hours of news breaking that Bill O’Brien will leave Penn State for the Houston Texans, one of the members of his coaching staff has also decided to leave the program. Assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Stan Hixon will join O’Brien in Houston, causing two of his commits to publicly reconsider other options.
Hixon told the parents of wide receiver commit De’Andre Thompkins, who was set to enroll at Penn State on Jan. 10, that he will not be staying at the university, according to the Patriot News.
Losing Hixon has made Thompkins and fellow wide receiver commit Chris Godwin reevaluate their plans to enroll at Penn State. Both athletes are four-star prospects, with Thompkins expected to move into his dorm room in a little over a week and Godwin in June.
“Me and Chris were talking about (what to do if Hixon leaves),” Thompkins told PennLive on Tuesday. “We love Hixon. He knows what it takes to get to the next level and if he leaves it would kind of make me sit back and think for a little bit because that is one of the big parts about why I love Penn State. It’s not just solely about O’Brien; it’s also about the assistant coaches he brings in.”
Since the rumors began last week about O’Brien’s departure for the NFL, Thompkins has received interest from North Carolina and Tennessee. Godwin has already received additional interest from Vanderbilt, causing him to reconsider his options due to Hixon’s departure.
“Coach Hixon was a big part about why I committed to Penn State,” Godwin told PennLive on Tuesday. “It goes along with the offense that they run and the fact that I can get a great education there. I’m not going to say that I’d decommit, but it would make me reevaluate the situation.”
Hixon has been praised for his work in developing star wide receiver Allen Robinson, who received many accolades this season and may declare his eligibility for the NFL draft. The junior carried Penn State’s offense, catching 97 balls for 1,432 yards, which are both single-season school records.
Before coming to Penn State two years ago, Hixon was a wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. He was an associate head coach and wide receivers coach at LSU from 2000-2003 and wide receivers coach at Georgia Tech, where he worked with O’Brien, from 1995-1999.
Here’s to hoping Thompkins and fellow commit Antoine White are still talking about winter work outs and what to bring to their doom room.