Randy Edsall vs. James Franklin: oh, it’s on, bitches.
You should eat.
I could be wrong about this, but I’m guessing the last thing Penn State needs right now is an assertion that its head football coach had contact with an alleged victim of a rape carried out by members of his football team.
Of course, we have no idea because “Vanderbilt and Penn State did not immediately respond to requests for comment.” But it sure don’t look good from here.
Either Penn State conducted the mother of all background checks before it hired Franklin – because the rape case was already out there in the public eye – and feels it has nothing to worry about here, or it just crossed its fingers and hired the guy. If it’s the latter, the school had better hope it’s not jumping off the cliff with its new coach.
No, he’s not breaking any rules, but, man, it’s something else watching James Franklin cannibalize the once proud Vanderbilt recruiting class. The best part of it is the utter shamelessness with which he’s gone about his business.
The better fit for most of the former Commodores commitments apparently has been Franklin himself, with six jumping from Vanderbilt’s commitment list to that of Penn State. Tight end Chance Sorrell of Ohio and defensive end Lloyd Tubman of Kentucky told Rivals.com that they received calls from Franklin just hours after he took over the Nittany Lions.
Those calls contained scholarship offers.
“He didn’t push me or anything,” Tubman told Rivals.com. “I told him that I was with him 100 percent. He was a major reason I committed to Vanderbilt.”
Again, all’s fair and all that. It’s the punchline that kills it for me.
Tubman added that after he committed to the Nittany Lions, Franklin asked him to shut down his recruitment.
Believe it or not, there are other happenings in the world of college football beyond the Pruitt hire.
The Vanderbilt Rivals site is reporting that whether James Franklin stays at Vanderbilt or goes to Penn State, his new contract will pay him more than $4 million per year.
I predict Greg McGarity has another sleepless night tonight.
UPDATE: This is even better.
Bobby Petrino, who lost $18M due to being fired with cause from Arkansas, gets a seven-year, $24.5M deal from Louisville.—
darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 09, 2014
That’s right – Bobby Petrino is making more than Mark Richt. I guess nice guys do finish last sometimes.
Shit’s gettin’ real in Nashville, where Chris Boyd entered into a plea deal that will him keep out of jail and perhaps lead to him being reinstated on the football team. However, there’s a catch.
Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd, 21, of Roswell, Ga., pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of trying to help cover up the June 23 rape of a 21-year-old Vanderbilt student in a dorm room. The plea deal allows Boyd to escape a felony conviction, any time spent in jail and a permanent mark on his record — so long as he testifies against four teammates charged with rape and stays out of trouble for a year.
It sounds like he’s ready to testify against more than just the four who’ve been charged. And that may have some significant repercussions.
The plea also opened the door to new, disturbing details about the early morning hours of June 23, when prosecutors say four of Boyd’s former teammates raped the student while she was unconscious. Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman said in court that Boyd, Vanderbilt tight end Dillon van der Wal and starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels carried the partially nude woman from a hallway where she had been dumped back into the room of one of the men prosecutors say sexually assaulted her.
Those details drew Vanderbilt University even deeper into the rape case, prompting officials there to address prosecutors’ allegations that their tight end and star quarterback not only had information about the rape, but were actually in the dorm shortly after it happened.
“As of this date, no additional players have been suspended or dismissed from the football team. Vanderbilt is monitoring the criminal process,” wrote Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for public affairs, when asked about the inclusion of van der Wal and Carta-Samuels in prosecutors’ account of the rape.
At a minimum, you’ve got to figure there are more suspensions and plea deals coming down the turnpike. If Franklin can hold things together throughout this, he’s really a helluva coach. Which is why I sort of have to laugh when I hear the media asking Saban if the Fluker matter is a distraction to his team this week. You want a distraction? This is a distraction.
He’s not exactly pulling any punches here.
For years and years, Vanderbilt didn’t have the talent to compete — much less beat — other SEC teams. Nicknamed the Harvard of the South, the university has long prided itself on stringent academic requirements.
On Tuesday, Spurrier wondered if that had begun to change.
“I don’t know all the academic requirements they have there at Vanderbilt, but if you’re going to play in the SEC you’ve got to recruit very closely to the standards everybody else has,” Spurrier said. “I would think they’ve relaxed them a little bit, but I don’t know exactly.”
“They want to play,” Spurrier said. “They want to play football, and they want to be competitive, and to do that you almost have to have the requirements pretty close to the other schools. Pretty close.”
It’s interesting that Spurrier doesn’t mind giving James Franklin some obvious bulletin board material for this week’s game. At least he didn’t bring up the suspensions from the rape charges.