Franklin-To-Penn State Rumors Continue To Heat Up (And Why We Think It Would Be Less Than A Perfect Marriage)
January 8th, 2014 10:06 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Joe Paterno, NCAA, Penn State, Penn Stater
Now, Vandy’s coaches are following the recruits of other schools, too, but the timing of the PSU adds was interesting to say the least. And that’s led to more reports that Franklin and his staff are the frontrunners to take over the Nittany Lion program.
USA Today reported yesterday afternoon that Vanderbilt’s coach “would be inclined to take the head coaching position at Penn State if offered.” This from “a person familiar with his thinking,” which is a title we’ve never seen kicked around before. Doesn’t mean that we doubt it, only that it’s a new way of saying, “someone close to the coach.”
We’ve stated our surprise with Penn State’s chutzpah in considering a coach who could possibly have his name dragged into an ongoing sexual assault case. While Franklin likely had zip to do with any after-the-fact cover-ups by four then-VU players, it’s still a possibility that defense attorneys might call on Franklin for information. USA Today makes mention of the situation as follows:
“This (Vandy) season was marred to some degree by an June incident in which four Vanderbilt players were charged with raping an unconscious 21-year-old at a dormitory and a fifth pleaded guilty to helping cover it up. All five were dismissed from the team.
Franklin would take over a Penn State program still operating under scholarship limitations and other NCAA sanctions related to the Jerry Sanduscky scandal.”
For his part, Franklin remains mum on the topic of Penn State. But back in Nashville, Commodore AD David Williams — who deserves a ridiculous amount of credit for unearthing Franklin in the first place — says he’ll “do everything I can to make sure” that Vandy’s coach remains Vandy’s coach:
“I expect James to be our football coach. I’m planning on it. We’re looking at facilities. We’re working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he’s going to be our football coach.”
One Vandy student has also started a petition online at change.org begging Franklin to stay at the West End school. Courtney Graziano ended her petition by writing:
“To Coach Franklin: I beg you to stay a Commodore
To Vanderbilt: PAY HIM WHATEVER HE WANTS”
So far 500 people have “signed” the online document.
And speaking of signatures, The Tennessean reports that (at least) a pair of Vanderbilt commitments might re-open their recruitment at the last minute should Franklin bolt. Quarterback prospect KJ Carta-Samuels said, “I just don’t know (that) without Franklin if it’s the same family, the same vibe.” And running back commitment Mikale Wilbon had this to say:
“I’ve been getting a lot of calls about that (from other schools). If he does leave, I don’t know what I’m going to do. It would stun me because when I committed last spring, he was telling me he wanted to make it into a dynasty there, like Nick Saban at Alabama, like Joe Paterno at Penn State. If he winds up leaving, I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, at least one columnist covering Penn State has made it clear that he believes Franklin should not be the next Nittany Lion coach. Franklin would be wise to consider the rationale behind the column from PennLive.com’s David Jones:
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