For now, and cautiously for 2020, Penn State has its coaching staff.

The Nittany Lions hired veteran former NFL assistant John Scott Jr. as defensive line coach Saturday, filling the vacancy left on the staff when longtime D-line coach Sean Spencer took the same position with the New York Giants.

Head coach James Franklin also announced three assistants had responsibilities added to their current jobs. Tight ends coach Tyler Bowen was named co-offensive coordinator, and running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider is now, also, the run game coordinator. Special teams coach Joe Lorig will coach the outside linebackers, too.

Scott is 44, and he has been coaching since 2001. He spent two years with the New York Jets in 2015 and 2016, but mostly, he has been a defensive line coach in the college ranks, with Texas Tech and Arkansas among his stops. Last season, he coached the D-line at South Carolina. He has worked for some big-name coaches over the years, including Todd Bowles, Kliff Kingsbury, Bret Bielema, Will Muschamp and, now, Franklin.

Here is Penn State’s announcement regarding Scott’s hire.

Penn State Football Head Coach James Franklin announced John Scott Jr. as the defensive line coach Saturday.

“We are thrilled to welcome John, Blakely, John III and Juliette to our Penn State family,” Franklin said. “We believe John will continue to build on the defensive line success we’ve fostered since our arrival at Penn State. He has an impressive coaching resume with experience in the NFL, Big 12 and SEC. John’s diverse accomplishments separated him from the rest of the candidates throughout the hiring process. In addition, his long-standing relationship with Brent Pry at Georgia Southern, Louisiana-Lafayette and Western Carolina ensures he’ll hit the ground running as we enter spring ball. His attention to techniques, fundamentals and the appropriate mentality needed to guarantee we continue to compete at the highest levels of college football. We’re also excited to welcome his wife, Blakely, back to Penn State where she served on the ICA Mental Task Force in 2012.”

“I am very thankful for the opportunity Coach Franklin has given me,” Scott Jr. said. “Coach Franklin is a tremendous leader who has the program on the rise and I’m excited be a part of it. I can’t wait to work with Coach [Brent] Pry and the defensive staff. I have known Coach Pry for more than 20 years as a player, graduate assistant and position coach, and he has definitely had an impact on my career. I can’t wait to get rolling with the defensive line and continue to build on the tradition they have established.”


Scott Jr. joins the Nittany Lions after spending the 2019 season at South Carolina as the defensive line coach. Under Scott Jr.’s guidance, Javon Kinlaw was named first-team All-SEC by the coaches. Prior to joining the Gamecocks staff, Scott Jr. spent two seasons at Arkansas as the defensive tackles coach in 2018 and defensive line coach in 2017.


The native of Greer, South Carolina, worked with the NFL’s New York Jets in 2015 and 2016. The Jets led the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed and red zone defense and were second in rushing defense and fourth in total defense in 2015. In 2016, the Jets finished fifth in the AFC in rushing defense and rushing touchdowns allowed. Defensive tackle Leonard Williams earned Pro Bowl recognition that season.


As the defensive line coach at Texas Tech (2013-14), Scott Jr. guided Kerry Hyder and Branden Jackson to the NFL Combine. Hyder earned All-Big 12 second-team accolades in 2013.


Scott Jr. spent three seasons as the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at Georgia Southern (2010-12), including one with Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry. Scott Jr. helped the Eagles to a pair of FCS semifinal appearances. He mentored Brent Russell, who was a three-time All-American under Scott Jr. and finished as the GSU career sacks leader. Scott Jr. led Roderick Tinsley to All-America status and helped John Douglas earn All-Southern Conference laurels in 2011. Tinsley was also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for FCS’s top defensive player in 2010.


Scott Jr. also spend time at Missouri State (2009; outside linebackers), Western Carolina (2006-08; defensive ends/outside linebackers), Norfolk State (2005; defensive line), Louisiana-Lafayette (2002-04; defensive graduate assistant) and Western Davidson (N.C.) (2001). All three of his seasons at ULL were alongside Pry.


A 2000 graduate of Western Carolina with a degree in communications, Scott Jr. was a four-year letterman for the Catamount and an All-Southern Conference selection as a defensive end in 1998. He had 31 career tackles for loss, which ranks 10th in Western Carolina history. Scott Jr. also earned a master’s degree in education from Louisiana-Lafayette in 2006.


Scott Jr. and his wife, Blakely Low-Scott, have one son, John, and one daughter, Juliette.