It's hard to imagine a college football coach delivering a more efficient first four months on the job than the opening stretch James Franklin has enjoyed. Though the only wins on his resume remain as a Vanderbilt Commodore, the 42-year-old continues to claim recruiting victories against top contemporaries.
When Franklin arrived at Penn State in January, he inherited a roster riddled with holes, a direct result of severe NCAA sanctions many thought would doom the program for a decade. The 2015 recruiting class was a bare cupboard, devoid of any commitments.
Fast-forward to the first week of May, and the class is now considered one of the country's best, brimming with talent from across the region. That stockpile grew again Tuesday when Penn State picked up pledges from Pittsburgh offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins and New Jersey quarterback Brandon Wimbush.
The pair of 4-star prospects gives Franklin 15 commits. Every player has jumped on the bandwagon since Feb. 15, making the Nittany Lions an unquestionable force to be reckoned with on the recruiting spectrum.
Excitement was evident in Franklin's tone Tuesday evening as he spoke at an engagement in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Well aware that he may be on the verge of landing two top targets, the coach gave his audience an honest forewarning:
Sure enough, Franklin's phone did ring. As promised, he accepted the call. (Jenkins later said it was him on the other line.)
Then, he gave the entire crowd an opportunity to partake in the conversation:
Fortunately, there's video of Franklin rallying his audience before stepping aside to continue the phone call:
You'll have to excuse Franklin for his enthusiasm. After all, he was on the verge of beating Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in a one-on-one showdown for Pennsylvania's top-ranked rising senior.
The celebration continued into the night.
Roughly an hour after Jenkins declared his intentions, Wimbush picked Penn State from a group of finalists that featured Miami, Boston College and Ohio State. He then led family and friends in his own "We Are" chant during an exclusive announcement broadcast on Bleacher Report:
When asked about the allure of Penn State, Wimbush told Bleacher Report's Michael Felder that it's hard to ignore the mounting momentum in Happy Valley.
"The energy right now that they have around the program. ... I feel like they're going to come in and dominate the Big 10," he said.
Nine months still separate this impressive class from national signing day, and actual games will be played between now and then, but Franklin is arguably the hottest figure in recruiting right now. Only Nick Saban's Crimson Tide currently rank ahead of Penn State in 247Sports' composite class ratings.
Now that he's laid an impressive foundation for 2015, Franklin expects his pledges to help take this class to another level.
"It's no different than getting our team to buy in to our philosophies," he told 247Sports reporter Jeff Rice on Tuesday night. "Same thing in the recruiting process. You want those guys to take ownership of their class. That recruiting class will be as good as they decide they want it to be."
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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