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Penn State hit by negative recruiting

BOB COHN
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TNS)

Penn State coach James Franklin said recent staff and player departures are being used by other programs as ammunition in recruiting.

“I don't think there's any doubt that we've been getting a lot of negative recruiting,” Franklin said Saturday, speaking to the media for the first time since after the TaxSlayer Bowl loss to Georgia Jan. 2.

“It's kind of been that way since we arrived,” he said. “About Penn State, about some of the challenges that we've been through.”

Franklin said it has helped that newly hired coaches have jumped right into recruiting. No recruits have backed out of their commitments in the last few weeks, and one prominent recruit, Woodland Hills running Miles Sanders, last week restated his commitment to Penn State.

“We spend our time focused on Penn State,” Franklin said. “And a lot of other schools approach it in a different way. A lot of it, to be honest with you, is that a strong Penn State makes it really difficult for a lot of other programs in this region. A strong Penn State makes it challenging for a lot of people.

“There's a lot of people ... if Penn State's not successful, it's gonna help a lot of those programs be successful.”

Franklin did not name any of those programs. He also reiterated that despite dealing with NCAA sanctions, successive 7-6 seasons and the recent departures, the program is on the right track.

“I was told by the administration and the previous staff, everyone has recognized that Years 3 and 4 of the sanctions are gonna be the most difficult,” he said. “If you take the emotion out of it and get a piece of paper out and write down all the challenges we have had as an organization, as an institution and as a football program, if you did it that way, we're probably ahead.

Franklin added, “As coaches and fans we always want more and we will always strive for more, but in terms of the facts it probably makes a whole lot of sense right now where we're at and where we're going.”

Penn State coach James Franklin released his team's depth chart heading into Saturday's opener vs. Kent State.