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‘That’s Not the Case’: James Franklin Addresses Report That he Hinted at Mike Yurcich’s Firing to Recruit Before Michigan Game

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

Eyebrows were raised last week when a report surfaced that, per a recruit, Penn State HC James Franklin knew he was going to fire OC Mike Yurcich before the Nov. 11 loss to Michigan at Beaver Stadium.

Word got out the day after that game that Yurcich had been let go, and many instantly assumed that the 24-15 loss was the final straw. 

Three days after the Michigan loss, four-star Class of 2025 QB Bekkem Kritza announced his commitment to Penn State. 

Kritza made the decision before the Michigan game, telling Franklin in person inside the coach’s office. It was there, too, that Kritza said he got a strong idea that Yurcich, who played a big part in recruiting him, wouldn’t be there when Kritza got to college.

“Before the game when I told Coach Franklin I was committing, he hinted to it,” Kritza told the Athletic’s Audrey Snyder. “He kind of told me that Coach Yurcich wasn’t going to be there. When I heard that, obviously I love Coach Yurcich, he’s a great coach, but I told Coach Franklin I committed to him and his program.”

During his last weekly Monday presser of 2023, Franklin was asked about the report.

“I think you guys know me well enough that that’s not the case,” Franklin said. “I can’t talk specifics about recruits, as you guys know, but I think you guys know me well enough.”

“Every recruit that I’ve ever met with, I talk to the recruit about committing to Penn State and committing to me because (with) the nature of college football, I don’t what there being a coaching change or a coach leaves to go be the head coach at Virginia Tech (Brent Pry) or Old Dominion (Ricky Rahne) or Mississippi State (Joe Moorhead), and now, all of a sudden, you’re unsure. So I cover that with every single recruit. 

Franklin went on to say that he “also could see that based on the timing of how things played out,” how a recruit could “connect the dots in the wrong way.”

“But I know the media that all cover that and is talking to a young kid can kind of figure it out,” Franklin said. “I think you guys know how I go about my business. I would never do that. It doesn’t make sense. But for a young kid, I can see how, the timing of that, you would connect those dots, and they’re not really connected. But I know all of you guys wouldn’t connect those dots that way and wouldn’t write it that way because you’ve been around me and how I go about things for a while. Wouldn’t put a kid and recruit in that type of position.”

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