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Fifteen Nittany Lions from 2017 senior class earn opportunities with NFL teams
Record-setting running back picked by the New Yorks Giants with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft
Hippenhammer grabs two touchdown passes in annual spring scrimmage
Nittany Lions win 31st Lambert Trophy for the top team in the East
James Franklin named to Paul “Bear” Bryant Award watch list
Head coach James Franklin discusses the 56-0 shutout of Georgia State
James Franklin discusses the shutout of Georgia State
James Franklin First 48 Hours
Photos from Penn State Football vs. Washington football at the Fiesta Bowl - Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017
Photos from Penn State football vs. Maryland - Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017
USA Today Sports Images: Penn State vs. Nebraska
Images of the Penn State versus Rutgers football game at Penn State.
USATSI photos from Penn State football vs. Michigan - Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
CAREER AT A GLANCE
• Franklin enters his seventh year as a collegiate head coach, leading his first six squads to a bowl game with victories in three.
• Franklin is one of 12 current FBS head coaches to lead his teams to a bowl game in each of his first six seasons as a head coach.
• He owns a 49-30 career record, with five consecutive winning seasons.
• Franklin has led his teams to one Top 10 finish (Penn State) and three Top 25 finishes (2 at Vanderbilt; 1 at Penn State).
• Franklin has 22 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and NFL level.
• In his first six years as a head coach, Franklin mentored 44 players that have gone on to the NFL ranks.
• Franklin has secured Top 25 recruiting classes each of his last five seasons, including back-to-back Top 20 classes at Penn State.
NITTANY LIONS ON THE FIELD
• Franklin was named the 16th head football coach in the storied history of the Nittany Lion program on January 11, 2014.
• The Nittany Lions surged in 2016, winning nine consecutive games en route to the Big Ten Championship, a Rose Bowl berth and an 11-3 overall record.
• Penn State finished the season ranked No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings and No. 7 in the Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls. It was Penn State's highest finish in the polls since 2005.
• The Nittany Lions claimed their fourth overall Big Ten Championship and first outright title since 1994 with a thrilling 38-31 comeback win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
• In 2016, Franklin was honored as the Sporting News National Coach of the Year and the Woody Hayes National Coach of the Year, as well as the Dave McLain Big Ten Coach of the Year and Associated Press Big Ten Coach of the Year.
• Franklin was also a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant, Eddie Robinson and Associated Press National Coach of the Year awards.
• The 2016 season brought record-breaking performances from the Nittany Lions as the offense set marks for total offense (6,056), passing yards (3,650), points scored (526) and double-digit comeback wins (4).
• The Nittany Lions' +14.4 scoring improvement in 2016 ranked fourth in FBS and second among Autonomy 5 schools.
• Sophomore running back Saquon Barkley was selected as the Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Big Ten Running Back of the Year and Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner for the conference's top player. He is the fourth Nittany Lion to win the Silver Football and first since 2009.
• First-year starting quarterback Trace McSorley was named the Grange-Griffin Big Ten Championship Game MVP, as well as earning Maxwell Club Tri-State Player of the Year and All-Big Ten second team honors. He was the first Penn State quarterback to win all-conference honors since Daryll Clark in 2009.
• Not to be outdone, the Nittany Lion defense finished seventh in FBS in tackles for loss (8.1) and 19th in sacks (2.86).
• Penn State posted back-to-back 40-sack seasons for the first time since 2005-07.
• Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a 7-6 record in 2015 and a berth in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
• Under Franklin's tutelage, Carl Nassib claimed a trio of national awards -- Lombardi Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award -- and became Penn State's 13th unanimous Consensus All-American.
• Nassib also led the nation in sacks with a school-record 15.5 in 2015.
• The 2015 season also saw Christian Hackenberg break every Penn State career passing record, including passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions, and true freshman Saquon Barkley break the freshman season rushing record with a 1,000-yard campaign.
• Barkley was named the Big Ten Network's Freshman of the Year and claimed second team All-Big Ten honors, while wide receiver Chris Godwin (second team) and defensive tackles Austin Johnson (second team) and Anthony Zettel (third team) also earned All-Big Ten accolades.
• Franklin's first season was bookended with a pair of thrilling victories for the Nittany Lions. The Penn State head coach's inaugural season began with a final-play 26-24 victory over UCF in Dublin, Ireland in Penn State's first-ever international game and ended with a comeback, a 31-30 overtime win over Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. The Nittany Lions overcame a 14-point deficit late in the third quarter, tying the largest comeback in Penn State's bowl history.
• With the Pinstripe Bowl win, Franklin became just the third Penn State coach to lead the team to at least seven wins in his first season, joining Dick Harlow (1915) and Bill O'Brien (2012).
• Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a 4-0 start, joining Harlow as the only first-year Penn State coaches to win their initial four games.
• In Franklin's first season at Penn State, he helped Mike Hull to the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award to carry on the "Linebacker U" tradition.
• Zettel earned All-Big Ten first team honors, while receiver DaeSean Hamilton garnered All-Big Ten second team accolades after pulling in 82 catches for 899 yards.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE CLASSROOM
• Tyler Yazujian collected a berth on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team in 2016 after an appearance on the second team in 2015.
• The 2015 fall semester saw the Nittany Lions post a record 56 squad members with at least a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA), marking the fifth consecutive semester (including summer sessions) the Nittany Lions have had more than 50 student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA or better.
• The 56 Nittany Lions with a 3.0 GPA or higher surpasses the mark of 55 set by the 2008 fall semester for the most 3.0 students in a semester in football program history.
• Additionally, 22 Nittany Lions earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition in 2015.
• A total of 23 Nittany Lions posted a 3.5 GPA or higher in the 2015 fall semester, with 19 earning Dean's List recognition for having 3.5 GPA or higher with 12 credits earned in undergraduate work.
• The Nittany Lion freshmen were impressive in the 2015 fall semester with 14 posting a 3.0 or higher.
• During Franklin's first fall semester on campus, the football student-athletes set program records with 25 student-athletes earning Dean's List recognition (3.5 GPA) and 57 players owning a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher after the 2014 fall semester.
• Additionally, 51 squad members compiled at least a 3.0 GPA in the fall of 2014, the third-highest semester total in program history.
• The spring of 2015 saw continued success in the classroom with 51 student-athletes compiling at least a 3.0 GPA, marking the first time in program history with 50 or more 3.0s in a spring semester.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE COMMUNITY
• In the last three years, the Nittany Lions have completed more than 6,100 hours of community service.
• The Nittany Lions' community service activities include: Uplifting Athletes, THON, Pennsylvania Special Olympics Summer Games, State College Area Food Bank and Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital visits.
• The football team's 2,100 hours of community service in 2014-15 equated to nearly 40 percent of the 5,300 community service hours by Penn State student-athletes.
• The engaging and enthusiastic Franklin is a popular speaker and media interview subject. He was a guest analyst on ESPN's coverage from the site of college football's National Championship game, spending a day appearing on various ESPN platforms in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Franklin joined the FOX studio crew for pregame, halftime and postgame coverage of the Big Ten Championship Game.
• In February 2015, Franklin was the lone college head coach among the speakers and panelists at the prestigious MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. He was a panelist for the session, "The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics," which was moderated by ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols.
• Franklin's recruiting classes in the last three years have been ranked an average of 17.0, which is a significant jump from the 40.8 average from 2012-14.
• Fifty-six of the 91 signees under Franklin are from within a 350-mile radius of State College.
• In 2017, the newest set of Nittany Lions finished in the Top 15 in the country, ranking as high as 12th by Rivals.
• The 3.57 average star ranking for the 2017 class was the highest since 2010 (3.89) according to Scout.
• Penn State signed Rivals No. 1 Pennsylvania recruit in back-to-back years (2017 -- Lamont Wade; 2016 -- Miles Sanders) for the first time since 2004 (Anthony Morelli) and 2005 (Justin King).
• The Class of 2016 at Penn State finished in the Top 20, ranking as high as 18th by ESPN, and featured a pair of five-star recruits.
• In 2016, Franklin secured the No. 1 player in the state of Pennsylvania (Sanders) for the first time since Jared Odrick (2006).
• The Nittany Lions laid claim to the No. 1 running back in the state of Pennsylvania in 2015 (Saquon Barkley) and 2016 (Sanders).
• In February 2015, the Nittany Lions' highly-regarded class of 25 signees was ranked in the Top 15 nationally by the four major recruiting services.
• Franklin and his staff organized a Top 25 recruiting class in short order after being hired at Penn State in January 2014.
• While at Vanderbilt, Franklin assembled a recruiting class that finished as high as 19th in 2014.
• In each of his three seasons in Nashville, Franklin signed classes that finished in the Top 50 nationally. Prior to Franklin's arrival, the Commodores average class rank was 64.6 since 2000 (based on 247Sports composite).
HELPING THE COMMODORES GET THEIR WINGS
• Franklin directed Vanderbilt to consecutive Top 25 finishes for the first time in the 124-year history of the program (No. 23/24 -- 2013 & No. 23/20 -- 2012).
• The Commodores finished 23rd in the final 2012 Associated Press poll, marking their first AP final ranking since 1948.
• Franklin's 24 wins tied Dan McGugin for the most by a Vanderbilt coach in his first three seasons.
• Franklin led Vanderbilt to a bowl game in each of his three seasons in Nashville, with the last two years resulting in wins over North Carolina State (Music City Bowl) and Houston (BBVA Compass Bowl). The Commodores had played in four bowl games all-time in the 121 seasons prior to his arrival, none in consecutive years.
• Over the last 20 games during the 2012-13 seasons, the Commodores' 16-4 record was second-best in the SEC to Alabama's 17-3 mark.
• Franklin guided the Commodores to a 6-6 regular-season record and earned a berth in the Liberty Bowl during his first season after inheriting a Vanderbilt team that finished 2-10 in both 2009 and 2010, including a combined 1-15 SEC mark.
• The 2011 bowl berth was Vanderbilt's second since 1983 and running back Zac Stacy broke the Commodores' season record with 1,193 rushing yards.
• The Commodores had a breakthrough campaign in 2012 under Franklin, finishing on a seven-game winning streak (longest since 1948) to post a 9-4 mark, Vanderbilt's most wins in 97 years, and a berth in the Music City Bowl, which VU defeated N.C. State, 38-24.
• A victory at Missouri sparked an 8-1 finish, which included three consecutive SEC road wins for the first time in program history.
• The Commodores were 5-3 in SEC play, winning five SEC games for the first time since 1935, and posted two shutouts for the first time since 1968.
• Franklin was among five finalists for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year award in 2012.
• Stacy became the first player in Vanderbilt history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, gaining 1,141 yards to finish his career with a school-record 3,143 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns.
• Wide receiver Jordan Matthews broke the Vanderbilt season receiving record with 1,363 yards on 94 catches.
• Vanderbilt continued its historic rise under Franklin during the 2013 season, capping a school-record second consecutive 9-4 campaign with a 41-24 win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
• The Commodores defeated Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in the same season for the first time in program history, winning in Gainesville and Knoxville.
• Franklin helped Matthews develop into a two-time All-American and the SEC's career leader in receptions (262) and receiving yardage (3,759). Matthews broke the SEC season record with 112 receptions for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, becoming the first SEC receiver to make 100 catches in a season.
RISING UP THE RANKS
• Franklin began his coaching career as the wide receivers coach at Kutztown (Pa.) University (1995) and was a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University in 1996, working with the secondary.
• He then was the wide receivers coach at James Madison (1997), a graduate assistant (tight ends) at Washington State in 1998 and the wide receivers coach at Idaho State (1999).
• In 2000, Franklin was named the wide receivers coach at Maryland under head coach Ron Vanderlinden, who would go on to coach the Penn State linebackers from 2001-13.
• Franklin continued in that role under new head coach Ralph Friedgen in 2002 and '03 and helped the Terps to three consecutive 10-win seasons, including an appearance in the 2002 FedEx Orange Bowl. In 2003, Franklin added duties as recruiting coordinator and directed back-to-back recruiting classes ranked in the Top 25 nationally. Franklin and former Nittany Lion head coach Bill O'Brien (running backs) were Maryland assistant coaches in 2003 and '04 under Friedgen.
• After five successful years at Maryland, Franklin was named wide receivers coach on Mike Sherman's Green Bay Packers staff in 2005. During that season, Green Bay ranked third in the NFL in receptions (383) and seventh in receiving yards (3,766). Donald Driver was among the top receivers in the NFL, ranking second in receptions and eighth in receiving yards, with a then-career-high 86 catches for 1,221 yards.
• Franklin served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kansas State during the 2006-07 seasons under head coach Ron Prince. In 2006, he helped the Wildcats to their first winning season in four years. Franklin coached quarterback Josh Freeman and oversaw an offense that produced a 3,000-yard passer (Freeman), 1,500-yard receiver (All-American wide receiver Jordy Nelson) and 1,000-yard rusher (James Johnson) during the 2007 season, a first in school history. Freeman would go on to become the Wildcats' highest NFL offensive draft pick since 1954 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him 17th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
• Franklin returned to Maryland in 2008 as the Terps' assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He helped the Terrapins to victories in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl and the 2010 Military Bowl. The 2010 squad was among the national leaders in scoring offense at 32.2 points per game and was led by ACC Rookie of the Year quarterback Danny O'Brien. He threw for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in 2010, with All-ACC receiver Torrey Smith making 67 catches for 1,055 yards and 12 scores.
• In 1998, Franklin began his participation in the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship Program, starting with a stint with the Miami Dolphins and working with Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Franklin also worked with Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles (1999) and Minnesota Vikings (2008) in the NFL program.
• Franklin was a four-year letterman at quarterback and a two-time All-PSAC selection at East Stroudsburg.
• He set seven school records as a senior to earn team MVP honors and was a Harlon Hill Trophy nominee as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year.
• Among the season records he set were for total offense (3,128 yards), passing yards (2,586) and touchdown passes (19).
• Franklin graduated having broken or tied 23 school records.
• Franklin was inducted into the East Stroudsburg Athletics Hall of Fame October 15, 2016.
• Franklin graduated from East Stroudsburg in 1995 with a degree in psychology and earned a master's degree in educational leadership from Washington State University.
• Franklin graduated from Neshaminy High School in Langhorne.
• Franklin and his wife, Fumi, have two daughters, Shola and Addison.
James Franklin Coaching Timeline
2014-current - Penn State (head coach)
2011-13 - Vanderbilt (head coach)
2008-10 - Maryland (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2006-07 - Kansas State (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2005 - Green Bay Packers (wide receivers)
2000-04 - Maryland (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator)
1999 - Idaho State (wide receivers)
1998 - Washington State (graduate assistant/tight Ends)
1997 - James Madison (wide receivers)
1996 - East Stroudsburg (graduate assistant/secondary)
1995 - Kutztown University (wide receivers)
The James Franklin Record
|2011||Vanderbilt||6-7||Liberty: Lost to Cincinnati, 31-24|
|2012||Vanderbilt||9-4||Music City: Beat North Carolina State, 38-24|
|2013||Vanderbilt||9-4||BBVA Compass: Beat Houston, 41-24|
|2014||Penn State||7-6||New Era Pinstripe: Beat Boston College, 31-30 (OT)|
|2015||Penn State||7-6||TaxSlayer Bowl: Lost to Georgia, 24-17|
|2016||Penn State||11-3|| Big Ten Champions|
Rose Bowl: Lost to USC, 52-49
|Career Record:||49-30||Bowl Record: Won 3, Lost 3|