This is not the first time this has happened. Helton had been on the hot seat for several years before getting dismissed, and Franklin always seemed to come up in conversation as a possible fit with the Trojans.
Right now though, Franklin is understandably unhappy to have to deal with this stuff in-season. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s not interested in USC; it just means it is interfering with his day-to-day life with his current team.
Speaking with the media today, Franklin said he “can’t stand any form of distraction” and stated his intentions to discuss the rumors with PSU’s team leadership council.
Penn State coach James Franklin on USC job speculation:
"I can't stand any form of distraction. I'll discuss this today with the [team] leadership council so that we can make sure that all of our energy is on our preparation for Auburn. That's how we'll handle it."
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) September 14, 2021
On paper, Franklin seems like he could be successful at USC. He’s produced three 11-win seasons at Penn State and won nine games in back-to-back years at Vanderbilt, of all places.
Most notably, Franklin consistently recruits well, which is music to Trojans fans’ ears. USC signed a top-10 class in 2021, but its 2020 haul was 64th in the 247Sports Composite Rankings and the 2019 signing class just broke into the top 20.
For now though, Franklin will try to push all of this noise to the background as he prepares his 10th-ranked Nittany Lions for a matchup with No. 22 Auburn on Saturday night.