If Penn State head coach James Franklin plans to stay in Happy Valley, he sure has a funny way of showing it. Amidst rumors that Franklin is atop, or near the top of USC’s wish list for a new head coach, Franklin has done nothing to temper the flames. If anything, he’s actually added a few logs to the fire.
On Monday, Football Scoop reported that Franklin made the odd in-season move to switch agents, moving from Athletes First to mega-agent Jimmy Sexton of CAA, leading many to speculate that a move from the east coast to west coast is not far behind. Sexton, by the way, represents a handful of coaches familiar to Power Five conferences: Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, and Kirby Smart among others.
— FootballScoop (@FootballScoop) October 26, 2021
Almost immediately after Clay Helton was fired by USC two games into the season, rumors swirled that the Trojans would roll out the red carpet for Franklin. He’s previously denied interest in the job, but if ever there were a time to make the leap, now is Franklin’s time.
Franklin, 49, inked an extension with Penn State in 2020 that will pay him at least $32 million through 2025. That’s a per-season average USC likely wouldn’t have a problem topping. Additionally, Penn State has dropped their last two games after being hyped as a potential College Football Playoff contender. For all his success at PSU, Franklin is yet to guide the Nittany Lions to a spot in the Playoff and has never finished a season with fewer than two losses.
Franklin’s Lions are also yet to make it through conference play unscathed. They have lost at least one Big Ten game each season. The road to a championship, or even the Playoff, is much tougher to navigate in the Big Ten than the Pac-12.
Mild winters and the prospect of having to best Washington and Arizona State rather than Ohio State and Michigan may have Franklin angling for a permanent spot on the Coliseum sideline. And now, he has just the agent to make that happen.
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