December 9, 2017 11:00:02 PM
STARKVILLE -- The first staff to work under new Mississippi State football coach Joe Moorhead grew from two to five in the span of a few hours Friday.
The Dispatch confirmed through sources reports of the additions of defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth, and offensive line coach Marcus Johnson to Moorhead's staff. They will join running backs coach, assistant head coach, and run game coordinator Charles Huff and quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator Andrew Breiner.
MSU has yet to confirm the hires.
Shoop spent the last two seasons as defensive coordinator at Tennessee. The Volunteers hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as their head coach.
Shoop played football at Yale in the 1980s and coached there and at Villanova, Northeastern, Columbia, and William & Mary in different roles before breaking into the Southeastern Conference. He worked for three seasons at Vanderbilt.
Shoop's three-year stint at Vanderbilt and two years at Penn State -- all under coach James Franklin -- produced some of the nation's best defense. All five defenses ranked in the top 25 in yards per play allowed, and three of the five ranked in the top 14. The 2014 Penn State defense ranked third.
MSU's defense this season is 39th in the nation in allowing 5.24 yards per play. None of Shoop's five defenses under Franklin allowed that much. His Vanderbilt defenses allowed 4.82, 4.75, and 5.07 before his Penn State defenses allowed 5.84 and 5.94.
Shoop's defenses at Tennessee ranked 78th and 88th in yards per play allowed last season and this season (5.84, 5.94). Those two defenses ranked ninth and 10th in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 28.8 and 29.1 points per game, respectively.
A day after the news, Olive Branch High School defensive back Jaylon Reed tweeted he is decommitting from MSU. Reed is a three-star prospect, according to 247 Sports. He was selected to the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game. Reed originally had committed to Shoop at Tennessee before flipping his commitment to MSU.
Hudspeth spent the last seven season as the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette. He led the Ragin' Cajuns to a 21-19 record in the Sun Belt Conference and five bowl appearances. Hudspeth spent seven seasons as head coach at North Alabama and two years as MSU's wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator before moving to ULL.
Hudspeth, who is from Louisville, played at Delta State. A source told The Dispatch that Hudspeth was in Starkville on Friday getting ready to recruit Louisiana for MSU in the coming days.
Johnson is a Mississippi native who played for Ole Miss before a five-year career with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His started his coaching career at Duke. He has worked his way up from an assistant strength coach to offensive line coach, a position he has held for the last two seasons.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson