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FOOTBALL | James Franklin makes top 5 coaches list, ranks above Ryan Day

Finally, Penn State’s head coach is getting the respect he deserves.



James Franklin
Oct 26, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin walks off the field after a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Penn State’s head football coach was ranked just outside of the top 10 by 247 Sports heading into the 2023 season. On Thursday, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman released his top 10 coaches heading into the year, and ranked Penn State’s James Franklin inside of the top-5.

James Franklin ranked in top 5 according to On3

On Feldman’s top 10 college football coaches list, Penn State’s James Franklin comes in at No. 5. The only four coaches in the sport that rank higher are Nick Saban (Alabama), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Dabo Sweeny (Clemson), and Jim Harbaugh (Michigan). Here is what On3 has to say about Franklin’s ranking:

“2023 could be the season Franklin takes the next step, for both himself and Penn State. Regardless, Feldman is giving him his due, ranking him in the top five with the best in the sport.”

James Franklin has an impressive resume since leading his Penn State Nittany Lions from NCAA sanctions (2014-15) to four top-10 finishes, three New Year’s Six wins, and a Big Ten title since 2016. In Franklin’s most recent season, his Penn State football team went from unranked to No. 7 after winning 11 games and the Rose Bowl on January 2nd of this year.

Franklin ranks above many notable coaches, including Ohio State’s Ryan Day

In a shocking move by Bruce Feldman, Penn State’s 51-year-old head coach ranks higher than Ohio State’s Ryan Day, USC’s Lincoln Riley, LSU’s Brian Kelly, and more. Franklin is undeniably a great football coach, though ranking him above a coach that he is 0-4 against is a bold move. At the same time, Day took over one of the best programs in the sport and has slowly made it worse, while Franklin took over a sanctioned Penn State football team and led the Lions back to prominence.

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