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February 7, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
For his first recruiting class as the head coach at Penn State, James Franklin leaned on the relationships he developed with the recruits he had attracted both at his current job and at his former position at Vanderbilt. The result was a full class of 20 players, including a final commitment on Wednesday, who returned their letters of intent and officially became members of the Nittany Lions' incoming class for 2014. "The staff kept recruiting and kept making phone calls, finding guys that we had relationships with to see if they were interested," Franklin said at a late afternoon news conference in Beaver Stadium.
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February 6, 2014 | BY STEPHEN PIANOVICH, For the Daily News
STATE COLLEGE - Troy Reeder committed to Penn State nearly a year ago, and the Salesianum product was dead set on playing his college ball in Happy Valley. But for Reeder and the rest of the Nittany Lions' 2014 recruiting class, there was a 2-week span from late December to early January where a sure thing saw its way out, and uncertainty swept in. From the time rumors of Bill O'Brien's eventual departure from Penn State swirled to the time James Franklin was introduced as his successor, oral commitments had to reconsider their future.
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February 3, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Columnist
Doug Colman has kept moving in the coaching profession, and the pace is quicker at each level. As recently as 2006, he guided Absegami to the South Jersey Group 4 football title, the first in school history. After three college coaching stops in the last six years, he is back to a familiar place: the NFL. Colman, 40, recently was named assistant special-teams coach of the Houston Texans. "We're excited," Colman said in a phone interview, alluding to himself; his wife, Colleen; and four children (with a fifth on the way in April)
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January 20, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
So Penn Staters, you're still ticked at Bill O'Brien for bolting to Houston after just two years - but perfectly fine with James Franklin's leaving Vanderbilt after three seasons and poaching every Vandy recruit he can get? It's natural if that, in fact, is exactly how you feel. That's certainly Franklin's position. Franklin makes it clear that he doesn't really buy into the idea that his recruits are actually going to a school for a particular education only available at that school.
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January 19, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
It appears as though new Penn State football coach James Franklin is going to be a little too busy to follow up on one of the pledges he made at his introductory news conference one week ago. Speaking with reporters Friday after a brief address to the university's board of trustees in State College, Franklin said, "Probably the one mistake I made" was promising to "blow up balloons at kids' birthday parties in the backyard," as he did last Saturday....
SPORTS
January 17, 2014 | BY STEPHEN PIANOVICH, For the Daily News
STATE COLLEGE - Christian Hackenberg will forever be tied to Bill O'Brien. The signal-caller was the gem of a 2013 recruiting class that stayed committed to Penn State and O'Brien after NCAA sanctions following the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Once he got on campus last summer, Hackenberg earned the starting job and, under O'Brien's tutelage, was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season. His four-touchdown performance against Wisconsin left fans pondering just how bright his future could be. O'Brien took the head-coaching job with the Houston Texans, and, after a 9-day coaching search, James Franklin was brought in to lead the Nittany Lions and have a hand in molding Hackenberg.
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January 17, 2014 | BY AARON CARTER, Daily News Staff Writer cartera@phillynews.com
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.
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January 17, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The question was whether Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg considered transferring after head coach Bill O'Brien resigned to join the NFL's Houston Texans. Hackenberg's answer was succinct. "I didn't," he said. To the relief of Nittany Nation, Hackenberg stayed in the fold after losing the two men - O'Brien and quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher - who played major roles in his development as the No. 1 true freshman quarterback in the country in 2013, when he passed for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns.
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January 16, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Big Ten rivalry between Penn State and Ohio State got a little more enthralling Tuesday amid reports that former Nittany Lions assistant coach Larry Johnson has accepted a job as defensive line coach of the Buckeyes. Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com reported Ohio State's hiring of Johnson, who spent 18 seasons as a Penn State assistant, the last 14 as defensive line coach. Johnson said Monday he was leaving the Nittany Lions even though new coach James Franklin had asked him to continue to lead the defensive line.
SPORTS
January 16, 2014 | BY STEPHEN PIANOVICH, For the Daily News
STATE COLLEGE - Penn State football players went home for winter break a month ago with a young, well-liked head coach in charge of the program. While it was James Franklin's bald head and glasses at the front of a team meeting room Sunday instead of Bill O'Brien's buzz cut and dimpled chin, the sentiment still rang true when the Nittany Lions returned to campus this week. Current Penn State players formally addressed the media yesterday for the first time since the coaching switch, and all had strong perceptions of their new head coach, who officially was hired Saturday.
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