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Nittany News and Notes 1.13.14: James Franklin Edition

Welcome to Monday, everyone! Did you hear we got a new coach?

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Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

You may have heard that the Nittany Lions hired James Franklin away from Vanderbilt University this weekend. If not...I know! It was a shock to me, too!

Getting down to some of the details that have come out about the Franklin hire; it's a sizable contract, but not near the 10 years, $50 million that he was reportedly offered as part of a last-ditch effort to keep him in Nashville. Some of the nitty gritty:

  • Base salary of $1.4 million in 2014, increasing by $500k each year of the six-year deal.
  • The incentives of his contract (including bonuses for championships and bowl games, and Nike endorsement deals) are much higher than that of his predecessor, Bill O'Brien; with these incentives--but without the bonuses--Franklin will make around $4 million this year.
  • The buyout starts at around $6 million, dropping steadily each year throughout the contract to $1 million in the final two years of his contract.

Not too shabby for a Pennsylvania boy with a Penn State heart, huh?

As for Franklin's staff, as we reported yesterday, word is out that Franklin's Vandy DC Bob Shoop, WR coach Josh Gattis, TE & ST coach Charles Bankins, and S&C coach Dwight Galt have joined Franklin in Happy Valley.Unconfirmed are also reports that LB coach and Vanderbilt co-defensive coordinator Brent Pry will come to PSU as well (Pry, as you may know, turned down an FCS head coaching position to stay with Franklin a week ago). There's also rumors that other members of Franklin's staff ($$) from Vanderbilt might be coming with him. We're still waiting for word on the status of Larry Johnson, Sr, and any other holdovers from the previous Penn State staff, though take this (from late Saturday) as you will:

In non-news news surrounding Franklin's hire, there are still some in the Penn State community (even besides that silly petition that got a remarkable five hundred--and counting!--signatures) that don't seem to be on board with the new coach. I'm loathe to give Mike Poorman page views on the previously linked piece, as, for a professional journalist and part-time professor at the University, the piece seems to be a classic case of what (and how) NOT to write. But, what the hell; even though I'm a grown woman, I put my Big Boy Pants on this morning, so click on it at your own risk.

Mostly, though, the hire has been met with a resounding round of applause from around the web. The BTN, in their recap of Franklin's introductory press conference, called Franklin's hiring the best in this offseason. SI's on board. So is Ivan Maisel. And BSD wasn't the only one calling out all the lazy columnists in their "cut and paste" pieces on why PSU shouldn't hire Franklin; Lost Lettermen had a great piece on the ridiculousness of Christine Brennan, Dennis Dodd, et al.

No word that any players are looking to leave, and all the public news out of the players has been nothing but positive on the hire.

Couple that with Franklin's blazing hot start on the recruiting trail (parts one and two), and things are looking pretty good. Five of the members of the 2014 recruiting class are already enrolled and started classes today, including 4* QB Michael O'Connor; the others are 4* WR DeAndre Thompkins, 3* DT Antoine White, 3* OT Chasz Wright, and 3* JuCo DT Tarow Barney.

There have been reports that Franklin has been trying to "destroy" Vanderbilt's 2014 recruiting class by poaching its players; the fact that he has offered a number of Vanderbilt commits now that he's in State College is indisputable, but whether that's poaching or not will likely depend on your perspective, and definition of poaching. Though the circumstances are slightly different (obviously, some players do commit to a coach and not a school), if you were outraged at Urban Meyer flipping PSU commits in the wake of IT but see no harm in these past few days, there may be some disconnect there (for the record, in college football today, I understand it all, and I'm at a place where I'm okay with it all).

If you missed any of the BSD coverage on the James Franklin hire, be sure to check out our story stream that is still active and updated, and stick with us here for any new stories out of State College.