James Franklin is changing the culture of Penn State Football with an updated approach.
Apr 12, 2014; State College, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin answers questions from the media following the completion of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team defeated the White team 37-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
(C+P) — Whether it’s by sending a recruit 107 letters, changing the practice uniforms, or by using social media to interact with recruits, new head coach James Franklin is changing Penn State football.
When hired this winter by Penn State, Franklin promised change and he has followed through on that promise already. During practice Penn State used to have different jersey colors for the first, second, and third teams. Franklin didn’t like that, so he made offense wear one color and defense wear another instead.
He is planning on changing the jerseys on game day too, pointing to what Oregon has done. He thinks that invigorates the fan base and will get people more excited about Penn State football. No official announcements have been made regarding the uniforms but look for a change in the near future.
Those are just some small changes he has done. Another change he promised is that now no recruits from Pennsylvania will leave the state for another school over Penn State. He said that Pennsylvania is going to be locked down by Penn State.
“Our recruiting philosophy is we’re gonna dominate the state and we’re gonna dominate the region,” Franklin said when he came to Penn State.
“First thing he said to me when he offered me was that I was coming to Penn State,” 2015 running back commit Saquon Barkley said to pennlive.com. “Coach Franklin offered me my scholarship and told me that they need me at Penn State, it’s my in-state school so he’s not letting me leave.”
Right now his fiery approach to recruiting has led Penn State to the sixth best recruiting class in the nation. Penn State has the highest rated class in the Big Ten, the first time since 2010 that Ohio State hasn’t held that title.
They also already have two highly rated four star commitments for 2016. They aren’t letting any recruits out of the fertile recruiting grounds of Pennsylvania. Franklin’s ability to connect with the players has been key to this development.
Recruits always say how Franklin seems genuinely interested in them. They receive daily texts from him, something that a lot of coaches don’t do. Even after Franklin has a commitment secured, the texts and calls don’t cease, they continue at the same consistent pace.
Franklin is also famous for his letters. He sends out hundreds of them and no, that is not an exaggeration, to recruits. One recruit counted how many and the total was 107. They were all handwritten letters to him explaining how much Penn State wants him.
Franklin also uses social media to connect with the players, recruits, and the fans. He uses the hashtag #107kStrong frequently, urging people to buy tickets to sell out all 107,000 seats in the stadium. He wants Penn State to sell out every game, a goal he outlined when he became head coach.
He direct messages people on Twitter, building a bond with everyone he can. He promotes the Penn State team with his #PSUnrivaled tweets. This season he has basically been Penn State’s public relations guy, pumping up the fans, recruits, and players which has led people to buy into the program.
Franklin has thrown Penn State into a world of change this offseason. Now the games are about to be played and it will be shown whether the changes off the field will translate to success on the field