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James Franklin Transparent With Recruits Amid Struggles & Dead Period

Penn State football’s surprising 0-4 start hasn’t just impacted the current team. It’s also affected potential recruits who are thinking about coming to Happy Valley.

To go along with the ongoing recruiting dead period, the struggles of his current team are just another obstacle James Franklin now faces on the recruiting trail.

During his post-practice media availability Wednesday, Franklin said he needs to address the team’s hardships during recruiting calls and be honest with them.

“I’m very transparent in recruiting, always have been,” Franklin said. “I get into probably a little bit more of the details and a little bit more of the specifics of what’s going on behind the scenes. But yeah, I’m very truthful, very transparent, and honest about what’s going on.”

The Nittany Lions are off to their first 0-4 start since 2001, something that may scare off potential recruits. However, Franklin believes not addressing the struggles can do more harm than good.

“We’re just very honest and up front, and I think the worst thing you can do is avoid it,” he said. “You have very direct honest conversations and you talk about it, make sure everybody’s on the same page. And it’s not always easy to do, it’s not fun jumping on those calls on a Sunday or a Monday, but you gotta do it.”

The recruiting dead period, which prevents in-person meet-ups, has been a factor in the recruiting process. Just last night, the dead period was extended through April 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t like it for the recruits and their experience and their process,” Franklin said. “As we’ve talked about before, specifically for schools like Penn State that you have to have a very specific plan to get to. It’s not something that you pass on your way to Philly or you pass on the way to Pittsburgh or whatever it may be. I think it’s impactful.”

Franklin mentioned he “feels for kids who are going through the process” but says it’s fortunate that some of them were able to take unofficial visits at some point.

Despite the challenges it may bring, the head coach believes the current recruiting dead period is the right decision for the safety of everyone involved.

“But I think at the end of the day, it’s hard to justify bringing anybody into the bubble’s we’re trying to create,” Franklin said. “Our focus and our emphasis has to be on our current student-athletes. You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize them and it’s challenging as it is.”

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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