Penn State coach Franklin arrives in Philly on a mission

Posted: January 17, 2014

JAMES FRANKLIN didn't waste time making the recruiting rounds in Philadelphia.

College football's dead period ended at midnight yesterday and hours later, the new Penn State football coach and his defensive coordinator, visited Archbishop Wood High, Imhotep Charter, St. Joseph's Prep, La Salle High and others.

City leagues' schools netted two PIAA championships last season, which makes Philadelphia an attractive piece of Franklin's recruiting mission.

"A huge part," Franklin said yesterday standing outside the Prep's Girard Avenue campus. "We want to dominate the state and that starts with the cities, the suburbs, the rural areas, the urban areas. There won't be an area in the state that we won't try to hit."

Franklin, who grew up in Langhorne and attended Neshaminy High, became the 16th PSU football coach when he was officially announced last Saturday. He also played quarterback at East Stroudsburg University (1991-94).

Including last season's title, Archbishop Wood now owns two of the last three Class AAA football championships. Viking juniors Jake Cooper (linebacker) and Ryan Bates (offensive lineman) were recruited by the Bill O'Brien regime.

"We're evaluating those guys," Franklin said. "That's what we're doing now. We're going around, seeing the kids, shaking hands, watching film, picking up transcripts; that kind of stuff. But, yeah, I feel really confident that that's still going to work out. We just want to make sure that we get to know them."

St. Joseph's Prep won its first Class AAAA football championship in December. Junior defensive back/wide receiver John Reid was an O'Brien recruit, as was La Salle junior QB Kyle Shurmur.

Imhotep became the first public school to compete for a PIAA football championship in December. South Fayette bested the Panthers, 41-0, in the finale, but they still possess several talented underclassmen.

"It's very flattering to think that today is the first day out and a few hours in, he's at our place," said Panthers coach Albie Crosby.

"I get a chance to meet a lot of coaches. You can get the guys that are overly aggressive and make it feel like you should be happy they're here. Then, you can get the guys who walk on eggshells. He was very welcoming. He pretty much came in like he was used to being here."

When asked about recruits' concerns over remaining sanctions from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Franklin said he would tell "the truth, and just keep moving forward."

Stop No. 2 will be tomorrow in Pittsburgh. New defensive coordinator Bob Shoop is a native of Oakmont, a Pittsburgh suburb.

"We're going to be a blue-collar, hard-nose program," Franklin. "That's what this city is and that's what a lot of this state is, as well. Think there's a lot of talent."


On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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