By now you know the background of Penn State head coach James Franklin. Franklin played college football for East Stroudsburg, a Division 2 school in Pennsylvania, and a program that has been known to rack up the passing yardage over the years. But just how good was Franklin as the quarterback for the Warriors?
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg recently took it upon himself to rank every FBS college football coach based solely on their skill as a college football player. Rittenberg admitted his previous ranking in 2016 didn’t quite hold up well, so it was time for some re-evaluation. So Rittenberg re-ranked all of the FBS head coaches in 2021, obviously with some new additions to the list since his last attempt at this ranking in 2016.
Franklin comes in at a respectable No. 46 on the list. Only a small handful of coaches ranked ahead of him while playing for a Division 2 or lower program during their respective college years.
Franklin still can spin it to this day, a nod to his career as a quarterback for Division II East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania. He set 23 team records in two seasons as a starter. In , Franklin ranked sixth nationally in total offense and was nominated for national player of the year honors.
Franklin remains loyal to his small school roots, and it is no surprise he and his staff keep a close eye on the developments around the state. This season will see the addition of a transfer from Shippensburg in wide receiver Winston Eubanks. And new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich first made a name for himself in the coaching world after reshaping the entire Shippensbrug offensive philosophy before being plucked away by Oklahoma State. Going from an old school Wing-T to a passing attack that piles up points on the scoreboard will do that for an offensive coordinator.
And really, what other excuse do we need to take a glimpse at Franklin during his college playing days? Check out the Penn State head coach on a program cover from 1994 (Penn State had a pretty good season that year too). That’s him on the right (No. 9).