Florida State reportedly in contact with Penn State’s James Franklin
Florida State reportedly has been in contact with Penn State coach James Franklin, and there is “mutual interest between the two parties” as the Seminoles continue their coaching search.
247Sports.com’s Brendan Sonnone reported the communication between the Seminoles and Franklin, who is considered one of the top FSU targets — along with Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, Memphis coach Mike Norvell and Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck — to replace Willie Taggart, who was fired on Nov. 3.
Franklin also is expected to be in the running for the Southern Cal job if the Trojans fire coach Clay Helton.
Franklin is an established coach with a history of winning at Penn State and his previous stop at Vanderbilt. The Nittany Lions are 9-2 this season and peaked as high as No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings this season.
FSU athletic director David Coburn said he ideally would like to have a coach in place by the end of the season and before the early signing period Dec. 18, where potential recruits can sign their letters of intent.
Franklin’s salary with the Nittany Lions was $5.65 million, which is the 11th highest in the country, according to salaries provided on USA Today’s College Football Coaches Salary Database.
He signed a six-year, 34.7 million contract extension in 2017 which was set to expire at the end of the 2022 season. His buyout is $1 million.
Several candidates already have taken their names out of the running to become FSU’s next coach.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops reiterated Monday he is not a candidate for the Seminoles’ opening and that he is staying with the Wildcats. Stoops’ remarks came after a report from 247Sports reporter Josh Newberg said Stoops interviewed with FSU’s administration in Cincinnati last week.
Bob Stoops, Mark’s older brother, also is no longer considered a candidate for the job.
Current interim coach Odell Haggins has expressed interest in becoming the permanent coach and reportedly interviewed for the position after the 49-12 win over Alabama State. Current and former players voiced their support for Haggins to be promoted.
The Seminoles (6-5) travel to Gainesville to face rival Florida (9-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.