James Franklin explains his reasoning for flipping Vanderbilt commits to Penn State


James Franklin has been criticized recently, particularly in the Nashville area, for taking Vanderbilt commits and flipping them to Penn State upon being hired.

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So far, Franklin has flipped three former Vanderbilt commits to Penn State, and more could be coming, while the Commodores look to hire their next head coach to somehow pick up the pieces of a once solid recruiting class.

Franklin appeared on the Dan Patrick Show, and Patrick asked him what the proper etiquette is for flipping recruits in this manner. Franklin explained his rationale, as if he needed to at all, via YouTube.

“I don’t know what the rules are, there,” Franklin said. “I know that I’ve been sitting in living rooms with families and kids and selling them on a dream and selling them on a vision and our relationship. A lot of people say that the kids should commit to a school, not a coach, but the reality is, they do. Families and kids want to make sure their kid is being taken care of. It’s about the relationship aspect.

“My responsibility is to do everything in my power to make sure I put a team together that can help Penn State be successful. And the people I’ve been recruiting for the last two years that I know inside and out, know the type of men they are, type of families they come from, you know, that’s going to happen. My job right now is to do everything I possibly can to help Penn State be successful.”

There are no rules against it; there is no proper etiquette against it; Franklin just has the inside track on the Vanderbilt commits. He’s built relationships with them over the last several years, and their families trust him.

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Obviously all coaches have different philosophies on aggressively pursuing recruits in this manner, but I don’t know a head coach who wouldn’t do it.

Photo Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports



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  • I’m from Nashville and I hate to see Franklin go, but I don’t blame him a bit. He can win in the Big Ten, the SEC is too hard for Vandy.

  • Poach Franklin gonna poach

  • Put it this way: James Franklin has been given less than a month to put together an entire recruiting class for Penn State after he spent years recruiting for Vanderbilt. Obviously the quickest way to scrounge together some recruits is to get the guys that have already committed to him before. It’s really not that hard to believe.

    • James Franklin should have realized his dilemma before taking the job at Penn State. To talk kids into coming to Vanderbilt, then leaving the team and talking them in to coming to Penn State is just low. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it ethical. Have some integrity. Sure, if they want to come, let THEM choose….but don’t go trying to get them to change because you are too lazy or sorry to go recruit people who were being recruited by Penn State and finding your recruits through that venue. Can you say :Lane Kiffin? Karma is a b!tch Franklin…..and it’s coming for you…..you’d think you’d take a clue from other people’s misfortunes…..

      • Don’t go trying to get them to go to Penn State… Kind of like how he tried to get them to go to Vanderbilt? And I’m pretty sure those kids are choosing to go to Penn State. No one is forcing them. Several of those kids are going elsewhere in the first place, so why not go where the coach they committed to is going?

  • Franklin has proved he can coach and build a winning team. I’m not a Vandy fan, but the school paid Franklin to coach and build a program at Vandy. He did that but now he is in fact building a program at Penn State using the money Vandy paid him to recruit for them. This shows a lack of integrity on the part of Franklin. You can’t blame the kids. It’s not against the rules but it is shady. If a coach has no 2nd thoughts about undermining Vandy, why would he have any 2nd thoughts abouts the way he recruits and operates a program at Penn State. Hope Penn State has some checks and balances in place or they could be in for some more problems down the road.

  • I had tremendous respect for the coaching job that Franklin did at Vanderbilt in the highly competitive ,and in my opinion, best conference in the country, SEC. However, since he has decided to go to Penn State, especially this late in the game, he should take the recruits that Bill O’Brien, who left for the NFL already had plus any recruits, who decide of their own free will and not of his urging to flip, and work with those. It is normal for a few recruits to flip. For example, Alex Collins wanted to play for Coach Brett Bielema who was head coach at Wisconsin, but took the job at Uni. of Arkansas. Collins wanted to follow the coach. When Collins, who is from Florida, told him mom, she is the one who ran and hid his letter of intent on National Signing Day last year so that he couldn’t fax it on time because she didn’t understand. Obviously, it worked out, and he went to Arkansas because Coach Bielema was running the offense that featured running backs. Anyway, one report I read stated that Franklin was taking all of his recruits except for a few with him to Penn State. I find that highly unethical. He was working for Vanderbilt, and he recruited them to the Vandy football program. Also, Vandy is very good academically, and if these student athletes qualify to go there, this certainly is a consideration. Everyone is not smart enough to go there. It is known as the Havard of the South for a reason. Yes, it was Franklin who convinced them to come there with his savvy personality etc…. but they haven’t even seen who the head coach will be yet nor have they met him. It should be the players choice and not Franklin putting pressure on them to follow him to Penn State. I guess I am just disappointed in him ethically. I have never heard of a coach doing this.

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