Penn State goes all in on Football, James Franklin with mega-extension

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Penn State Football has inked head coach James Franklin to a mega deal worth $70 million guaranteed, plus incentive bonuses, that will keep in Happy valley until 2031. 

The rumors have been swirling around Penn State Football all season dating back to Week 3, leading into the whiteout game with Auburn, about head coach James Franklin’s future with the program.

That future is no longer in doubt, as Franklin has inked a 10 year, $70 million guaranteed deal, plus incentive bonuses, making him one of the highest paid college football coaches in America.

Rumors of USC and LSU seemed to grow louder and louder as the season went on, especially as the team hit a three game losing skid in October. Speculation of Franklin being distracted and having his mind elsewhere grew louder as well, especially after a rather pre-Ohio State press conference that had the head coach calling the Buckeyes Illinois, and the horse shoe the Big House.

Even the most staunch supporters of Franklin were on their heels a bit, however a good showing at Ohio State that week and wins in two of their next three game of settled things down a touch, and with this news breaking, we now know Franklin is here to stay for good.

There will undoubtedly be a segment of the Penn State Football fan base that is unhappy with this massive extension, citing his inability to win big games and their 11-9 record in their last 20 games dating back to 2020.

Despite that, the Franklin extension is great news for the Nittany Lions, both in the immediate and in the long term.

5. Culture

We hear the term “culture” thrown around a lot in sports, especially when it pertains to football and locker rooms.

Any time a new coach is hired they tell the media and fan base they are going to change the culture by bringing in a new attitude, a winning mentality and outwork the opponents. However, how many do it?

When Franklin got to State College, they were still dealing with sanctions, limited scholarships and still had that dark cloud hanging over the program.

Franklin has said and done all the right things since arriving in Happy Valley, and of course the winning helps, trips to the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, a Big Ten title, will assuredly assist in lifting any ill feelings.

Franklin has done a fantastic job of bringing in players who represent what it means to be a Nittany Lion, and it shows in situations like last year. Facing the first 0-5 start in program history, dealing with Covid-19 interference and all that came with it, this program and team could have crumbled. It was this week last year, Thanksgiving, that players and coaches could have let feelings of missing their families, missing the holidays creep in, and went to Ann Arbor and just checked out.

Penn State Football did the opposite, they rallied, they went to Michigan and played an inspired game, defeating the Wolverines for the first time at the Big House in Franklin’s career. They then rattled off another three straight finishing 4-5.

Not a single player opted out during the 0-5 start, nobody entered the transfer portal, not a single player was hit sidelined due to Covid-19, a sign that the players and staff were still taking all the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe amidst the nightmare season they were having.

After the season, many thought the floodgates would open and all draft eligible players would bolt for the NFL, players would head to the transfer portal to seek greener pastures. Some did, but some stayed. Jahan Dotson, Jaquan Brisker, PJ Mustipher, Tariq Castro-Fields, Rasheed Walker all could have gone to the league and started to collect checks and help their families.

They returned to campus, with a sense of unfinished business. They did have players enter the transfer portal, but it was not the mass exodus some figured.

His teams have had their troubles with getting up off the mat after a loss, and allowing one loss to turn into two. However his teams have never quit on Franklin, they have not lost games due to a lack of effort. Ask Florida fans currently about that, as they just had to fire Dan Mullen because his team quit on him, and checked out.

Franklin has changed the culture of Penn State Football, period stop.