Penn State Will Officially Announce James Franklin As New Head Coach Saturday


As reported earlier today, James Franklin will be Penn State's next head coach. Franklin will be introduced at a press conference in State College on Saturday, joining the Nittany Lions after three years of unprecedented success at Vanderbilt.

While the contract has not yet been signed as of Thursday evening, Franklin has given every indication to the Nittany Lions that he intends to be their next head coach. Arrangements are already being made in State College for Franklin's arrival, where he will take over a program that went 15-9 under Bill O'Brien despite debilitating NCAA sanctions and numerous player transfers.

The exact details of Franklin's contract are still unknown, but sources have told us it includes a "significant" buyout clause meant to ward off interest from the NFL - Penn State has no intention of losing Franklin the way they lost O'Brien to the Houston Texans. Franklin is expected to move quickly to try to retain interim head coach Larry Johnson, a father figure to many players who is considered one of the top recruiters in the country.

Johnson, who has coached at Penn State since 1996, was defensive line coach prior to O'Brien's departure. There are growing concerns at Penn State that Johnson is planning to resign if not given the head coaching job on a permanent basis, and those rumors picked up steam Thursday when Johnson's son Tony made a Facebook post suggesting his father could be leaving town:

“It’s been a great 18 year run at PSU ... Thank you to everybody for all the support, text, emails and phone calls...”

Penn State insiders initially expected Franklin's hiring to become official as early as Tuesday, but a counteroffer from Vanderbilt raised concerns in State College that the move could be off. Although Vanderbilt's athletic director David Williams and several current Commodores players claimed Franklin's status was unchanged as of Thursday afternoon, there is every indication that his move to PSU is inevitable.

While Vanderbilt may attempt to counter Penn State's offer a second time, an eleventh-hour bid is not expected to change Franklin's mind.


More Penn State:

Meet Vanderbilt's James Franklin (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

The 11 Ways You Know You Went To Penn State

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