The only thing James Franklin likes more than recruiting is talking about recruiting. This is not offered as a snide comment, but as a token of respect. He speaks with genuine passion about bringing kids to Penn State, and he is not afraid to make enemies along the way.
Which is good, because he's definitely made some enemies in the seven months since arriving at PSU. His vow to "dominate the state…(and) the region" at his introductory press conference made Franklin a quick favorite with Penn State fans—you can even buy a T-shirt with the catchphrase—but did not endear him with local coaches.
But Franklin doesn't care if he comes off as arrogant; and he wouldn't call it arrogance, either. More likely, he would call it "aggressiveness," and he explained that philosophy to Brian Hamilton of SI.com:
That's just kind of who we are. That's my personality. We're aggressive in everything we do, within the rules. I don't really worry about that. It's my job to do everything in our power to help Penn State be as successful as possible in the classroom, in the community and on the field. And we're going to be aggressive in every aspect.
In more recent news, Franklin drew the ire of his former SEC counterparts when Penn State staffers worked as guest coaches at a Georgia State camp this summer. The SEC does not allow its coaches to stray so far (50-plus miles) from campus, so Franklin broke an unspoken rule of recruiting conduct. Not an actual rule like a law, mind you, but something closer to the NCAA "bro code."
None of the backlash he's received is going to stop Franklin, however. He made that clear when he took the stage in Chicago on Monday. His goal is to make Penn State as good as possible within the boundaries of permissible NCAA conduct. As long as the book allows it, he is going to get it done. He will not adhere to nebulous turf wars.
"Whatever that may be, whether it's recruiting certain parts of the county, we're going to look into all those things," Franklin said of his method for improvement, per Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com.
It isn't just one region that Franklin wants to dominate; it's all of them. After the early success he's found on the recruiting trail—PSU ranks sixth on the 247Sports team rankings—who can blame him?
Why shouldn't he go get blue-chip recruits from the south?