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Rutgers WR coach Tiquan Underwood reportedly leaving for Pitt

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ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported the news on Sunday morning.

Rutgers v Maryland Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Rutgers wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood is reportedly leaving for the same position at Pittsburgh. Pete Thamel of ESPN was the first to report the news on Sunday morning.

Underwood played for Rutgers during head coach Greg Schiano’s first tenure from 2005-2008. The former First Team All-Big East receiver caught 132 receptions for 1,931 yards and 16 touchdowns in 50 games. He finished in the top ten in program history for all three receiving categories and holds the Rutgers record for most receiving yards in a game.

After he played five seasons in the NFL and three in the CFL, Underwood began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Lafayette in 2018 and then a quality control assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 2019. He joined the Rutgers coaching staff as the wide receivers coach in 2020 after Schiano returned to the program.

The development of Bo Melton and Aron Cruickshank as receivers under Underwood’s mentorship was notable. He was also one of the younger assistants on the staff and reportedly related well to the players.

On the face of it, the news that Underwood is leaving his alma mater and former coach is surprising. Rutgers also just added two veteran receivers through the transfer portal for next season in Sean Ryan from West Virginia and Taj Harris from Syracuse.

Ultimately it is a business and Underwood is obviously leaving for what he believes is the right move in his coaching career. He was one of the lowest paid assistants on the staff at $250,000, In addition to a likely pay raise with this move, he’ll have the opportunity to coach last season’s Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison, who caught 17 touchdowns. Pitt will be replacing QB Kenny Pickett for a team that went 11-3 in 2021.

Schiano now has two assistant coaching spots to fill with former Defensive coordinator Robb Smith now at Duke, former special teams coordinator Adam Scheier at Temple and former defensive line coach Jim Panagos having left for Kansas. Rutgers replaced Smith with Joe Harasymiak as DC and Marquise Watson replacing Panagos. Replacing Underwood is an important hire for next season and beyond as the offense looks to take the next step in 2021.