James Franklin & Penn State: “With Recruiting We’ve Been on a Pretty Hot Stretch”
BETHLEHEM — James Franklin is on a roll.
The fifth-year Penn State head coach was at the Sands Casino Resort here Thursday night, and he used terminology commonplace to the gambling venue to talk about his recent recruiting success.
“All of our coaches are just coming off the road recruiting. They’ve been on the road recruiting for a month,” said Franklin, the featured speaker at a regional Realtors event.
“With recruiting we’ve been on a pretty hot stretch,” he added. “Last week we had five commitments in five days — some of the top players in the United States.”
Penn State’s 2019 Class is now ranked No. 16 in the nation, according to 247Sports after beginning the month closer to No. 50.
“We’re making great progress," Franklin enthused. "The thing that I'm most proud of is that there’s such a buzz right now about Penn State football. And it’s great to see people walking around with their chests out, so proud about what’s going on in State College and at Penn State with our program.”
Those five players: five-star linebacker Brandon Smith and Devyn Ford, one of the nation’s top running backs, both from Virginia; Connecticut defensive backs Tyler Randolph and Marquis Wilson, both four-stars; and Lackawanna Community College safety Jaquan Brisker.
Franklin said Lady Luck has nothing do with Penn State’s success on the recruiting trail.
“I love when people say, ‘What are the secrets to winning the Big Ten championship? What are the secrets to recruiting so well?’” said Franklin, who clearly does not love it. “There is no secret to success.
“The secret is that very few people are willing to do the things necessary to be successful," he offered. "It’s hard work. It’s attention to detail. It’s sacrifice. It’s about caring about people. It’s about servant leadership.”
“There are no secrets,” repeated Franklin. “It’s about waking up every morning with the right attitude, maximizing that day, caring about people, about trying to make a difference and not hitting the snooze button. It’s that simple.”
Because — whether it’s recruiting college football players or counting cards at the casino — if you snooze, you lose.
WHAT JAMES ALSO SAID
On Lehigh Valley native son Saquon Barkley: “For us, when we can keep our own home, it means more. How special was it for you guys watching one of your own maybe go down as the greatest player in Penn State history?”
On meeting with players and staff: “On Monday, I literally just finished end-of-the-year meetings with every player. Which is great, but it’s brutal because I have a half-hour meeting with 125 players.
“Now, I’m starting to meet with every staff member and do the same thing with them. It’s to get perspective, to get feedback — what they like, what they don’t like, what they have concerns with, what they have questions about. I can challenge them about strengths and weaknesses and things like that. Taking the time with our personnel, with our people — which is our most valuable resource is really what we’re doing.”