One of the most prominent college football jobs in the country is vacant after the USC Trojans fired Clay Helton. Several of the sport’s prominent coaches garnered significant buzz, including Penn State’s James Franklin, who already spoke to his players about it, according to quarterbackSean Clifford.
“Coach Franklin talked to us yesterday, addressed the topic (of USC),” Clifford said during Wednesday media availability. “I don’t think that it’s anything that we need to worry about. It’s something that is kind of out of our hands. We’re just gonna focus on Auburn and then go from there. We’re really excited about what we’ve got on table this week, so we’re not gonna let outside sources change our thought process.”
Franklin addressed the USC opening and any potential interest in his Tuesday press conference. “As you guys know, I can’t stand any form of distractions. So I’ll discuss this today with the leadership council, so we can make sure all of our energy in on preparation with Auburn and that’s how we’ll handle it,” Franklin said.
Two top candidates stand out to ESPN SEC Network host Paul Finebaum for the opening, and one happens to be Franklin. The other is Oregon’s Mario Cristobal.
“I think someone that commands attention and respect, and isn’t just a figure — like Helton,” Finebaum said Tuesday on Keyshawn, JWill & Max. “And I know everyone liked Helton — that’s not really what this is about, this is about being successful and running a program — but someone like James Franklin at Penn State. He is probably the first name that comes to mind.
He’s very charismatic. He was unbelievably successful at Vanderbilt. He’s had really good success at Penn State. They haven’t quite broken through. They’ve come close a couple of times, in terms of having a legitimate shot at the national title, but Ohio State is usually in the way there.