Report: Vanderbilt's Franklin will be next head coach for Penn State

1/9/14 in NCAAF   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

In 2012, when Penn State was tasked with finding their first new head coach in 46 years, they struck gold by signing New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. Despite being bowl ineligible and losing a number of transfers on the heels of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, O'Brien still managed to post a winning record in each of his first two seasons at Happy Valley. Unfortunately for Penn State, O'Brien's success caught the eyes of NFL teams, and after just two years, O'Brien bolted back to the NFL to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.

The loss left Penn State in a tough situation. They were offering a head coaching position at one of the high-profile programs that prospective coaches dream about from a young age, but are still dealing with the repercussions of Jerry Sandusky's actions.

There was heavy speculation that Greg Schiano - a Joe Paterno disciple - would be the leading candidate for the job, but nothing ever materialized there. Al Golden was another candidate, as he has proven to be a qualified coach and is plugged into the Pennsylvania scouting community due to his days at Temple University. After an interview, however, Golden decided that he would not be leaving the University of Miami (FL).

Blog Photo - Report: Vanderbilt's Franklin will be next head coach for Penn StateThen there was James Franklin, the head coach of Vanderbilt whose name had gained a lot of steam thanks to the way he was able to turn around the Commodores' football program. Franklin inherited a team coming off two straight 2-10 seasons. In his first year, Franklin's squad went 6-7, and in both his second and third seasons, Vanderbilt boasted a record of 9-4.

There were rumors back in December that Franklin would be Penn State's top target if O'Brien left, but they would have to face some competition for the hot name. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns both requested permission to interview Franklin over this past weekend. It was Penn State, however, that won the race for Franklin, as the former Vanderbilt man will be the next head coach of Penn State, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.

Franklin will take over with some nice young talent - such as freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg - and will also be able to tell this year's recruits that the team will be bowl eligible by their junior season, and possibly even a year earlier if the NCAA decides to reduce the ban.

With Franklin's track record at Vanderbilt, he seems like a great fit for the job, and he could very well have the Nittany Lions competing at a high level by the time their bowl ban is over.
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