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James Franklin Reacts To Tim Banks Leaving For Tennessee

Penn State head coach James Franklin on the sideline during a game.

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on during the second half of the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium on November 16, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Tennessee Volunteers football program announced the hire of Penn State co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Tim Banks as its new defensive coordinator.

The defensive assistant had served under PSU's James Franklin for quite some time. From 2016-2020, Banks was a valuable member of Franklin's staff in University Park. Before that, the two worked together as assistants on the Maryland football staff (2003-04).

With Banks now flying the coupe, the Nittany Lions head coach had plenty praise for his former assistant.

“I would like to thank Tim for everything he has contributed to our program,” Franklin wrote in an official statement. “This was a great opportunity for him to be the defensive play-caller and defensive coordinator at Tennessee. I have spent seven seasons on staffs with Tim at Maryland and Penn State, and I have enjoyed watching him develop into the coach he is today. Tim and his wife, Robin, will always have a special place in my family’s heart. We are excited for Tim and his family and wish him nothing but success in the future.”

This 2020 season was the first year since 2016 where a Banks-led Penn State defense wasn't ranked in the Big Ten's top 5. In 2019, Banks helped the Nittany Lions to a No. 3 defensive ranking -- allowing just 16 points per game and a league-low average of 95.3 rushing yards.

With a disappointing 3-7 record this past season, Tennessee certainly could use a boost on the defensive end. Ranked No. 7 in a struggling SEC, the Volunteer defense allowed an average of 30.1 ppg through 2020.

If Franklin's praise carries any weight, Banks should be a defensive upgrade in Knoxville.