Penn State Nittany Lions: David Williams

As Vanderbilt coach James Franklin's name continues to circulate for coaching vacancies, his boss is trying to make sure he stays put.

Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams told CBSSports.com that he expects to not only keep Franklin in Nashville, but also plans to revise his contract -- among other things -- in order to keep Franklin happy with the Commodores.

[+] EnlargeJames Franklin
AP Photo/Phil SandlinHow long can Vanderbilt hang on to James Franklin?
"I expect James to be our football coach. I'm planning on it," Williams told CBSSports.com. "We're looking at facilities. We're working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he's going to be our football coach. I'll do everything I can to make sure that he is."

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Franklin, who has led Vandy to back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time in school history, was the front-runner for the Penn State opening.

It makes sense, really. Not only is Franklin a Pennsylvania native, he's become one of the hottest coaching names out there with his success at Vanderbilt. He's led the Commodores to bowl games in three consecutive seasons and back-to-back bowl victories. Both are firsts in school history. He can sell the program with the best of them and he's a hard-nosed worker and recruiter. He's also exceptional at developing talent.

It's tough to say how much we can put into what Williams is saying. Was he supposed to say anything different? Franklin has been on the short list of a few college jobs, including the Texas one, and NFL teams have come calling. When you talk to people around the program, it sounds like the NFL might not be Franklin's true calling. But it would be hard for him to turn down a big-time college job, such as Penn State.

Williams and Franklin have a very good relationship, but even Williams has to know how tough it would be for Franklin to turn down a much bigger job. It's how the world works, especially the world of coaching.

While there's no question that Franklin loves his current employer, but his head-coaching life is very young. With what he's done at Vandy, just imagine what he could do at a bigger school with more resources and more clout. With a bigger platform, Franklin might do wonders.

Whether Franklin stays at Vandy or not in 2014 is still unknown, but the reality of it all is that it's going to be very tough for the Commodores to keep him around for the long haul.

NittanyNation mailbag: Sanctions, maybes 

February, 1, 2013
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Tyler BoydAP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackTyler Boyd likely would have committed to PSU if there were no sanctions.

Welcome to NittanyNation's bi-weekly mailbag! We asked you to tweet or email your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth.

William Amesbury (@WAmesbury16) writes: Where do you think the 2013 recruiting class would be without the sanctions?

Trio of PSU pledges on Big 33 team

January, 13, 2013
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Three future Penn State players -- two commits, one preferred walk-on -- have earned spots on the Pennsylvania team in the Big 33 Football Classic, an annual all-star game that now pits players from Maryland and the Keystone state.

Three-star athlete Zayd Issah (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) will play outside linebacker, while four-star OL Andrew Nelson (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) will be on offensive line. Preferred walk-on Evan Galimberti (State College, Pa./State College) will join him there.

Maryland will not choose its team until next month. The game will kick off on Saturday, June 15 at 7:06 p.m., in HersheyPark Stadium.

The all-star game traces its roots to 1957 and has at times included Texas, Ohio and East Pa. vs. West Pa. This will be the first year Pennsylvania doesn't play Ohio in 14 years; the Big 33 signed a five-year contract with Maryland in late October.

In the last meeting between Pennsylvania and Maryland was in 1992. Pennsylvania won 38-0.

Other familiar names to make the team include Pitt commit WR Tyler Boyd, PSU target LB Chris Britton, Pitt commit (and former PSU commit) OL Dorian Johnson, PSU target WR Brian Lemelle, South Carolina commit RB David Williams and Michigan State commits QB Damion Terry and SS Delton Williams.

The Big 33 has a full roster here.

ESPN 150 RB Williams ready to decide 

December, 23, 2012
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Philadelphia Imhotep Charter running back David Williams is leaving the Mid-Atlantic.

The ESPN 150 prospect will announce his commitment on Jan. 4 at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Los Angeles.

“Me and my family talked about it after the recruiting period stopped and thought it’d be good,” Williams said.

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6 uncommitted PSU targets to watch 

December, 20, 2012
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With just two scholarships remaining, Penn State is looking to add some quality to its 2013 class and is targeting several ESPN 300 prospects.

NittanyNation takes a closer look at six uncommitted recruits that Penn State's after:

1. ATH Tyler Boyd, 6-1, 175, Clairton (Pa.)
Four stars, ESPN 300, No. 17 at position
Main competition: Pitt

Synopsis: The likely wideout said PSU is currently his No. 4 school, and it probably works into Penn State's favor that he's pushing his early January decision back some. He's scheduling official visits to Michigan State and West Virginia, and he also plans to take one to Happy Valley.

PSU's staff obviously thinks highly of Boyd. They've been to several of his games, paid him an in-home visit and have remained in constant contact. Boyd is pretty tempted to follow two of his teammates -- Titus Howard and likely Terrish Webb -- to Pitt, and it would be an upset if he committed elsewhere. Still, PSU was No. 6 on his list just two weeks ago and it's now moved up to No. 4.

The longer Boyd takes to make a decision, the more it helps Penn State.

2. RB David Williams, 6-1, 192, Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Charter
Four stars, ESPN 150, No. 13 at position
Main competition: South Carolina

Synopsis: If it wasn't for the sanctions, Williams might be in better position to become a Nittany Lion ... but South Carolina stepped in and has gone after him hard. Steve Spurrier was at his final playoff game, made an in-home visit and has stayed in touch. Penn State's coaches have visited him at school, but Williams announced less than two weeks ago his final three included South Carolina, Ohio State and Arizona State.

Williams said a few days later he hadn't eliminated Penn State after all and might make an official visit to PSU in January. He's been up to Happy Valley several times for unofficial visits, and the staff's really trying to show him the school's remained the same since the sanctions. Forget the other teams after Williams, though -- it's really South Carolina vs. everyone else. The Gamecocks are the heavy favorites right now.

3. MLB Trey Johnson, 6-1, 215, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
Four stars, ESPN 150, No. 2 at position
Main competition: Ohio State


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NittanyNation Friday mailbag

December, 14, 2012
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Welcome to NittanyNation's first-ever mailbag! We asked you to tweet your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth -- starting with the question we received most.

Brian Wess (@bwessfootball) writes: What's Penn State's next move for a quarterback? Tyler Ferguson?

Josh Moyer: You hit the nail right on the head, Brian. I spoke with Ferguson and his junior college coach briefly Thursday, and that's exactly what's at play here. Penn State made it clear Jake Waters was Plan A. When that fell through, the staff contacted Ferguson and offered him a scholarship as their Plan B.

Ferguson said he'll commit to a school at some point this morning. He's on the West Coast, though, and plays for Bakersfield (Calif.) College of the Sequioias, so it could still be a few hours. At this point, though, it's pretty clear that Penn State is Ferguson's top choice. Houston already has three quarterbacks as part of its 2013 class, while PSU has just one scholarship QB for the spring. You do the math.

Ferguson's addition would help PSU -- but he's no Waters. Iowa Western's QB threw one interception for every 111 attempts; Ferguson one for every 29 attempts. Steven Bench had a head start against Waters in learning Penn State's pro-style offense, but Bench has to be considered a much higher favorite to start in 2013 now that another quarterback -- likely Ferguson -- is coming on instead.

(Read full post)

Spurrier visits ESPN 150 RB David Williams 

December, 12, 2012
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South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier made his in-home visit with David Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) on Tuesday, and it only strengthened the Gamecocks’ lead for the ESPN 150 running back.

Spurrier was joined by area recruiter G.A. Mangus and running backs coach Everette Sands on the visit to the school and then later Williams’ home.

“It went well. My mom and them hit it off,” Williams said. “There was no awkwardness. Everyone was on the same page.”

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ESPN 150 Matchup: Anzalone vs. Williams 

December, 10, 2012
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Alex AnzaloneTom Hauck for ESPN.comAlex Anzalone (above) faced off against David Williams on Saturday.

GERMANTOWN, Pa. -- Pennsylvania's top running back squared off against the state's top linebacker Saturday, and NittanyNation was there to watch the matchup.

Linebacker Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) remains committed to Notre Dame, but David Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) is still looking around. Penn State didn't make his top 3, but that doesn't mean the Nittany Lions will shut down their recruitment with him. He appears to remain a target.

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ESPN 150 RB David Williams names top 3 

December, 8, 2012
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GERMANTOWN, Pa. -- ESPN 150 tailback David Williams said Saturday afternoon he trimmed his list to three schools: Arizona State, Ohio State and South Carolina.

Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) isn't sure when he might make a decision, but he said it would likely come near signing day. He wants to see each school on an official visit and then talk a potential commitment over with his family.

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PSU could get visit from David Williams 

December, 4, 2012
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David WilliamsScott Fink/ESPNHSDavid Williams said he is waiting until his season is complete before going on any recruiting visits.
First-year program Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia) is in the semifinals of the state championships, and the program is riding ESPN 150 running back David Williams to an undefeated season.

Colleges are coming through Philadelphia daily to meet with Williams, and Arizona State, Miami (Fla.), Penn State and South Carolina have all either come by the school or will be visiting this week, Williams said.

Penn State running backs coach Charles London met with Williams on Tuesday at the school and also had a chance to speak with his mother.

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Future is bright for Big Ten 

September, 10, 2012
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Saturday was hardly a banner day for the Big Ten.

But the conference could be raising some banners in the near future with the strong recruiting classes many of the league’s programs are putting together.

The best of the Big Ten’s 2013 recruiting classes belongs to Michigan right now. ESPN 150 quarterback Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) is the future of the program and is the kind of pro-style quarterback Brady Hoke needs for his offense. Morris won’t have to worry much about protection either once he arrives in Ann Arbor, as the Wolverines have five offensive line commitments -- and all five are in the ESPN 150.

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One of the top players in Pennsylvania has dropped Penn State and added one of the Nittany Lions' rivals to his top group.

ESPN 150 running back David Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) is no longer considering Penn State after the NCAA levied sanctions against Penn State on July 23.

"I'm not considering them no more," Williams said of Penn State in a text message.

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