We’re counting down the days until kickoff. So, every day, we’ll try to make that time tick by just a little faster by also counting down the top 30 moments of James Franklin’s tenure so far. Up next — with 20 days left — is the No. 20 moment since Franklin took the head-coaching job.
No. 20 moment: Penn State’s 2014 National Signing Day
On Feb. 5, 2014, Penn State head coach James Franklin strolled into the Lasch Building at 5:45 a.m. with a smile.
Less than a month after being hired, Franklin was ready to set the tone for a program. For the first time in school history, the energetic coach treated National Signing Day as if it were a party. That would set the tone for years to come.
Blue and white balloons hung over blue and white tables and Franklin sat in front of a plasma screen TV, greeting players and their families over Skype.
Nearby, a draft board collected magnetic placards with the names of Penn State’s commits. As the letters of intent were received, the commitments were announced, and the names went up on the board.
“With the first pick, from Flemington, N.J., linebacker Jason Cabinda,” special teams coordinator Charles Huff said at 7 a.m. while standing at a podium.
An hour later, Huff returned.
“With the seventh pick, one of the all-time winningest quarterbacks in the state of Virginia, Trace McSorley,” Huff announced.
At 8:33 a.m., equipment manager Brad “Spider” Caldwell announced the signing of Chris Godwin. Less than a half hour later, Michael Mauti bellowed Mike Gesicki’s name. At 9:30 a.m., members of the Blue Band joined the room, playing the Penn State fight song as Nick Scott’s name was announced.
When the final name — safety Marcus Allen — was voiced, Penn State had inked the No. 24 recruiting class in the country, according to 247 Sports.
It was a whirlwind few weeks for Franklin after being hired on Jan. 11.
But the extravagant nature of signing day brought a new feel to Penn State — and set the standard for how important recruiting would be to Franklin.