Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Franklin faces tough decisions on scholarships

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – James Franklin dashed out onto the recruiting trail right after being hired two weeks ago as Penn State's new head football coach, and he has hardly slowed down since then.

But with national signing day coming up on Feb. 5, it appears that Franklin will have some big decisions to make because of the Nittany Lions' scholarship restrictions.

NCAA sanctions that were relaxed slightly in September put Penn State's maximums at 20 scholarships for the new class and 75 scholarships overall for next season. The program currently has 21 commitments for 2014 but five players enrolled earlier this month, meaning they count against the 2013 total.

That leaves four scholarships remaining for the incoming class, but it is not known how close the program is to 75 total scholarships. Either way, the coaching staff might have to turn away some talented high school players.

"It's a fine line," Franklin said Friday at a Beaver Stadium news conference where he introduced his staff of assistant coaches. "You're trying to fill needs, but you're also trying to bring as much talent in as you possibly can.

"We're kind of at that point right now where we still have a lot of needs and we're not going to be able to fill all our needs in this class. That's going to take a couple of years to do that. So you want to take the most talented players you possibly can and the guys that are the best fit for Penn State. But that's a process.

"We're going to end up turning down some really good players. We're going to have to turn down some four- and five-star players but that's a good position that you want to be in."

Franklin is hosting dozens of recruits Saturday on campus. Most of the prospects are for the Class of 2014.

Franklin said two assistants – wide receivers coach Josh Gattis and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith – will serve as recruiting coordinators for offense and defense, respectively.

As for recruiting philosophy, Franklin said each of his assistants will cover a portion of Pennsylvania and will have a regional area that they can drive to. There also have been discussions about ideas for national recruiting but "nothing is set in stone," he said.


jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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