There wasn't much to say at first.
At the start of Sunday afternoon's Penn State Senior Camp, James Franklin announced himself and the Nittany Lion program to attendees and their families before passing the mic to his assistant coaches for brief introductions.
The fare was about as expected: highlighting the camp's benefits, the university's outstanding reputation and the program's unique recruiting success in the aftermath of the NCAA's Draconian sanctions.
What transpired next, however, was even more unique.
Escorting media members and all non-essential personnel out of Holuba Hall, Franklin spent the better part of the next hour speaking to parents and guardians seated on metal bleachers, detailing each and every facet of the recruiting process. For those already experiencing the recruiting process and those expecting to go through it in the near future, the caretakers of the more than 200 attendees on hand for the camp were given the benefit of Franklin's insights into the process.
As Franklin later revealed to the media during a brief interview session at the camp's midway point, it's one of the highlights of his camp experience.
"One of the things that I love that we get a lot of great feedback about is, after we do the opening presentation, we sit down with the parents and allow the parents and high school coaches, mentors or aunts or uncles or whoever brought them today to ask questions," he said. "There's a lot of things about the recruiting process that maybe they're unsure of."
Taking into account his own coaching experience at Kutztown, East Stroudsburg, in NFL Europe, at James Madison, Washington State, Idaho State, Maryland, with the Green Bay Pakers, at Kansas State, Maryland, Vanderbilt and finally Penn State, the Nittany Lions new head coach said he has a breadth of knowledge that can be beneficial to attendees regardless of the level their sons may or may not be recruited to play.
"I'm able to answer a lot of questions because today is not just about Penn State," he said. "We have other colleges working this camp as well. We want to provide opportunities for kids, so hopefully they have an opportunity to come to a place like Penn State, but if they don't, I want to give them an opportunity to go to Rhode Island or James Madison or Villanova or Delaware or East Stroudsburg, wherever it may be, and that's why those coaches are here for that as well. That's one of the things that I think we do a great job of and I enjoy doing."
In a summer camp atmosphere that has become as much a recruiting tool and evaluation process as one focused on development, Franklin also stated his desire to get back to those developmental roots through the course of the five camps Penn State will be offering this summer. Stating plans to add a developmental camp for all football players as young as the middle school level, the entire process is one Franklin said he views as being a program builder.
"The big thing for this, people have gotten away from it and I think it's a shame, that you come to camp to get better. We want them to come, we want them to develop, teach them techniques and fundamentals that will allow them to be successful in their high schools, and then an evaluation. An evaluation for us and an evaluation for the other colleges that are here," he said. "We'd love for there to not only be five-ten kids get scholarships from coming to our camp, but we'd love for 10 to 15 kids to get scholarships to other schools in this region as well."