Nov 24, 2012; Winston Salem, NC, USA Vanderbilt Commodores head coach James Franklin stands on the field prior to the start of the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB

Penn State Football: What Makes James Franklin Such a Good Hire for the Nittany Lions

Despite all of the back-and-forth recently–and while I am well aware of the unofficial definition of the word I’m about to use–it’s assumed that by Saturday James Franklin is headed up north to Happy Valley to be the new leader of the Penn State Nittany Lions as he serves as their head coach.

In short, this was a brilliant move by the Penn State brass and will indeed pay dividends in the end.

I understand that he may not be the man that some of you want, but the bottom line is that Franklin is the man you need.

It’s odd to some that Franklin ultimately ended up with the gig, given that the two men he was reported to be up against were storied Penn State alums in Miami coach Al Golden and former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak.

In today’s world, however, that just doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to, and it certainly doesn’t carry weight given the circumstances that the PSU football program is still under.

Hiring Golden or Munchak, just for the simple fact that they’re “Penn State guys,” would have just been a band-aid on a wound that’s still seeping just a bit.

Franklin, on the other hand, can re-build in State College and that’s what this program really needs to seek a full recovery some day.

Any man that can immediately walk into a Vanderbilt program as he did in 2011 and turn a two-win team into a six-win, bowl bound team shows something.

But something sometimes isn’t enough, that’s why Franklin silenced all of the naysayers by winning nine-games in each of the last two seasons, including two bowl wins.

James Franklin is a man that’s taking over a Penn State team that has talent on it to win football games, that’s been proven to us. But it’s not about now, it’s about sustaining the success.

In the harsh recruiting world of today’s college football, guys like Munchak and Al Golden would have their proverbial lunch eaten by guys like Urban Meyer, Brady Hoke and Mark Dantonio.

The new coach in Franklin is the man that walks up to the bullies and punches them in the mouth for Penn State, a trend that Coach O’Brien began.

He can not only hit the hotbeds up north here on the recruiting trail, but also use his connections to scrounge some talent up from down south–and more importantly, develop them.

But let’s not also ignore the fact that Penn State fans put a lot of stock into the character of their athletes, almost just as much as they do their results on the field.

Okay, if that’s the case, then let Coach Franklin tell you about sacrifice:

Still not enough? Ok. Let Franklin tell you about passion:

Penn State, plain and simple and if all reports are indeed correct, hit a home run with bringing Franklin in to oversee one of the more recognizable brands in all of college football.

Because that’s how big Penn State football is, people. It’s its own brand, whether anyone else in America likes it or not.

Every brand needs a face, and James Franklin is exactly that.


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Tags: Football James Franklin Penn State Nittany Lions

  • RichmondNick

    Al Golden is getting some pretty good recruits at Miami…

    • Jack Jorgensen

      You mean the five star receiver that couldn’t catch a pass this past season to save his life? Or, are you talking about Nigel Bethel who just decommitted on Thursday to go to Texas Tech? Or, are you referring to how he can’t keep Treon Harris in Miami?? No, no he’s not getting anything down there

      • RichmondNick

        He has had 2 top 10 recruiting classes in a row. I like the Franklin hire more because of the new blood, he was the guy I didn’t think PSU would get when names first started coming out. I get that you want to defend your article but Al Golden is doing just fine on the recruiting front, if you want to discuss player development, fine maybe he’s not killing it in that category considering they’ve had 4-star guys across the board and still can’t win big games.

        • Michael Lanich

          We have to remember that Golden has only been there a few years and he’s had to deal with all of the scandal as well as cleaning up the mess that others left for him.

          He’s also been working with players recruited by the former head coach for an offense they used at the time. Yes, I think this year was the first year where he should have really showed so major progress, but I’ll still give him a couple more years to bolster his recruits and maybe by then things will be different.

        • Jack Jorgensen

          Al Golden is far from fine on the recruiting front. He’s drowning, trust me, I deal with it every day

  • Michael Lanich

    I agree with basically everything you said except that you feel Al Golden would have been eaten alive against the other big coaches of the Big 10. From everything I have gleaned regarding Golden, he’s a highly regarded recruiter.

    Despite NCAA sanctions against Miami, Golden has I believe the 5th or 6th best class in the country this year. He cleaned up Temple and returned a football team to respectability when it was one of the 5 worst teams in college football at the time.

    Now he’s gone on to return Miami to the top of the perch. I’m not saying he will or that ultimately he would have been the perfect fit. But by all accounts he is a really good head coach, a great recruiter and hailed from Penn State. All three reasons are why he was at the top of the list. Make no mistake. Golden was number 1 on the list and Franklin was 2. There are reasons for it.