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Penn State Football: Recruiting And Development Shaping Up For Interesting Future Under Franklin

by on May 08, 2014 9:24 AM

Year Three.

That's when James Franklin thinks the engine of his new and improved Penn State program can be purring like a 1969 Dodge Charger and looking as sleek as a 2014 Lotus.

It's a very specific amount of time, but it is a span that should give both Franklin and his staff a strong foothold in Penn State's recruiting areas and a strong understanding of the university. It also happens to be a number that was worked out well before.

"I threw that out there because the last place I was at, after going into Year 3, I felt like we had a really good feel," Franklin said on Tuesday at the latest stop of the Coaches Caravan. "We kind of understood the place, we knew how to get things done. We know who to talk to on campus, who to talk to in the community, who has a really good pulse of things."

"I had a really good understanding of the university as a whole and the community. So I felt, in Year 3, we really were comfortable and understood where we were going. We had three recruiting classes, all those types of things, and now we come and we’re starting all over."

While Franklin might be starting all over at Penn State, he does have the advantage of a well-established foundation. As his first true recruiting class has shown so far, it won't take long at all for Franklin to bring in some of the best prospects in the Northeast and surrounding areas. 

Even so, Penn State still has to navigate through difficult sanctions and scholarship limitations. Perhaps by design, the program will be working its way out of NCAA sanctions by the time Franklin's Year Three gets here. In the meantime though there are still plenty of frustrations to be had with learning the ropes at a new job, let alone when you're battling against scholarship and depth issues at every turn. Even so, it's a positive process in Franklin's eyes.

"I’d say that’s probably been some of the frustration when you first show up – you’re starting all over," Franklin said. "The other end of the spectrum is the excitement, the excitement of the things and the potential this place has and the history and the tradition and the direction we’re going to take it. But you are starting all over again, developing a relationship with you guys, the media , starting to develop a relationship with people on campus and in the community and getting to know the players.

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"I feel so much better about that now, you know, we had meetings. Meet with every single player, schedule an appointment for between 20 and 25 minutes and getting the chance to ask them their background, their family, who raised them, their brothers and sisters, their recruiting process, everything, kind of go through that with them. And ask them how the transition has gone and now after going through recruiting, going through spring ball, getting to really spend some time, I think we’re in a really good place."

If Franklin is right about where he and his staff can be in Year 3, it certainly does set up the 2016 season for at least some far-too-early hype if everything falls into place.

  • Assuming he doesn't go pro early, Christian Hackenberg will be a senior
  • Assuming they all sign and make it to Penn State, Penn State's No. 2 nationally ranked 2015 recruiting class will be in its second season in Happy Valley
  • The schedule will feature Pitt and Michigan on the road, Ohio State and Michigan State at Beaver Stadium and no Wisconsin or Nebraska.

it's impossible to know how the next two years will pan out. But all things being equal, Penn State fans can enjoy the prospect of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and the end of Decembers and Januaries spent watching bowl games at home.

So start your engines.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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