Area recruits OK with Franklin

Coatesville running back Daquan Worley takes a handoff from QB Jordan Young. BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer
Coatesville running back Daquan Worley takes a handoff from QB Jordan Young. BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer
Posted: January 13, 2014

Thursday was a big day for Antoine White.

Not only did White graduate from Millville High School in Cumberland County, but the 275-pound defensive tackle also learned who might be his coach at Penn State.

"From what I hear he is a very animated, high-energy coach," White said of James Franklin, who was introduced as Penn State's new coach on Saturday. "It will be great to see how we do with him."

White, a first-team all-South Jersey player, never wavered from his commitment to Penn State after former coach Bill O'Brien resigned to take the job with the Houston Texans.

White said Thursday that he plans to enroll at Penn State this week. He wants to get a "head start" on the next phase of his academic and athletic career and participate in Franklin's first spring practice with the Nittany Lions.

Coatesville's Daquan Worley, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior who is projected to play cornerback for the Nittany Lions, was told of Franklin's hiring Thursday afternoon, when reports first surfaced, by his father.

"I don't know too much about him, but I know that he's had a couple of good seasons at Vanderbilt," he said.

Worley, who starred as a multipurpose performer for the Red Raiders, did not hesitate when asked if he remained committed to playing for Penn State.

"I'm not waiting on anything or waiting to hear from anyone," he said. "I'm 100 percent with Penn State."

Worley said he has heard only positive things about Franklin in his daily talks with Coatesville assistant football coach and mentor Anthony Pulio.

"He really likes James Franklin," he said. "He doesn't know him personally, but thinks he's a good coach. He likes what he's done at Vanderbilt."

Worley, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in late October, added that he is looking forward to speaking with Franklin but needs no convincing when it comes to his college destination.

"Penn State is the best place for me," he said. "I know that's where I belong. That's where my heart is. That hasn't changed."

Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson, who has sent several players to Division I programs over the last few seasons, said he met Franklin a few years ago.

"He's a good dude," Hinson said. "I think he's going to do a super job recruiting the entire Northeast."

One of Hinson's top junior players, defensive back Kareem Ali, has an offer from Penn State along with 14 other colleges, including Nebraska, Clemson, Wisconsin, and Rutgers.

Hinson said Ali is seriously considering Penn State.

Penn State also has made an offer to Glassboro junior wide receiver Juwan Johnson. Glassboro coach Mark Maccarone said Johnson was interested to see if the new Nittany Lions coaching staff remains in contact.

Shawnee coach Tim Gushue, who has been running the program at the school in Medford since 1980, said he was "partial" to interim coach Larry Johnson, a longtime Penn State assistant who was considered to be a candidate for the position on a permanent basis.

But Gushue believes Franklin will be a "good hire" for Penn State.

"I don't know him personally, but I've heard him speak several times," Gushue said of coaching clinics. "He's very impressive. He did great things at Vanderbilt."

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