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James Franklin Addresses Faculty Senate on Academics

Penn State head football coach James Franklin told the Faculty Senate Tuesday he wants to see all GPA football records broken under his leadership.

“We came here, number one, to graduate players,” Franklin says.

Franklin spoke to the Faculty Senate just hours before attending the State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C.

When asked by a faculty member about his top priority, Franklin said he started with putting together a staff. Now, it’s recruiting players. In fact, as part of that, he had plans to take a red eye flight Tuesday to California to recruit.

At the same time, Franklin, who is known for his plan to “dominate the state”, says he’s “embarrassed” that Penn State currently does not have commitment from any of Pennsylvania’s top 10 players.

“That should never happen,” he says.

Still, he says that may change.

“We think we got a chance to hopefully swing the number one player in the state back in our direction,” Franklin says. “We believe in that.”

When asked about the difference between Vanderbilt, his former employer, and Penn State, Franklin said values. At Vanderbilt, which is in the SEC, Franklin says the top priority was always football.

“They don’t make any excuses or try to justify, that’s really their reason for existence,” Franklin says.

At Penn State, Franklin says there’s an emphasis on education and an athlete receiving a well-rounded experience. Additionally, with recruiting, he says his goal is to capture student athletes that are going to be “great fits here socially as well as academically.”

On a lighter note, Franklin admitted he sent out a bold statement during his first press conference as coach when he said he would not turn down a speaking engagement or kid’s birthday party invitation.

“I’ve gotten a lot of requests,” he says. He was admittedly careful not to extend the same offer Tuesday.

At one point, Franklin accidentally said Vanderbilt while speaking about the Penn State program. Faculty offered him forgiving laughter for the slip.

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