by Mike Pavlichko
Savon Huggins – once one of the top recruits in New Jersey out of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City – has been named the runningbacks coach at the University of Massachussetts.
Huggins announced the move on Twitter Wednesday.
Since last March he had been a wide receivers assistant at the University of Buffalo.
Huggins spent time as an assistant on the staff at Somerville High School, coming to the Pioneers in 2016 with current head coach Dallas Whitaker and others with Rutgers connections as assistants to Jeff Vanderbeek, and helped turn the program around after several moribund seasons.
Somerville had gone 4-36 over four seasons before Vanderbeek took over the head coaching job on his own, following a year of sharing the duties with Chris Cassamento, bringing in a slew of assistants including Whitaker, Huggins and others. In 2016, the Pioneers went 10-0 and lost to Rumson-Fair Haven in the Central Jersey Group 3 seminfinals. They beat the Bulldogs to win the sectional title the following year, finishing 11-1.
Huggins came to the Scarlet Knights to play for Greg Schiano as the most heralded recruit in the 2011 class; he was a five-star blue-chipper and the consensus No. 1 recruit in the Garden State. But, in part due to injuries, things didn’t pan out for Huggins, and he wound up transferring to the University of Northern Iowa.
Vanderbeek’s first coaching staff had a distinct Rutgers feel. Whitaker was a former walk-on and a student assistant around the same time Huggins was at Rutgers, and was Vanderbeek’s offensive coordinator. Mason Robinson – who was a star runningback and track star at Somerville – also later went to Rutgers, and served as The ‘Ville’s volunteer speed and agility coach. And Pioneers’ wide receivers coach Vance Matthews also was at Rutgers, mostly playing on special teams.
Listen to Savon Huggins talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio about his move to UMass, developing relationships, and his time at Somerville: