Franklin Hired as Terps Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator
Current Kansas State assistant set to return to Maryland
Dec. 23, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - James Franklin, one of the nation's top young offensive minds, is returning to the Maryland football staff as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, Coach Ralph Friedgen announced Sunday.
Franklin signed a three-year contract with the Terps and will begin his duties on December 30. He fills the spot on the staff vacated by Ray Rychleski, who is leaving after the Emerald Bowl to become the special teams coordinator/tight ends coach at South Carolina.
"James Franklin is definitely the person who fits what I have been looking for," said Friedgen who has also served as offensive coordinator the past two seasons. "His knowledge of our program, his experience as a coordinator and his ability to recruit definitely strengthen us as a coaching staff and football program."
Franklin spent the last two seasons at Kansas State, where he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He also has NFL experience after spending the 2005 season as the wide receivers coach with the Green Bay Packers.
""I've always considered the University of Maryland to be one of the premier programs in the country, and I'm excited about the opportunity to return," Franklin said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Friedgen and what he's been able to accomplish throughout his career; and I'm looking forward to helping him take the program to new and exciting levels."
This past season under Franklin's direction, K-State's ranked 20th nationally in passing offense, averaging 285.4 yards per game, and 21st in scoring offense (35.2 points per game).
Franklin's offense is coming off a record-breaking campaign as the Wildcats had a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,500-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher in a single season for the first time in school history. They also set school records for pass attempts, completions and passing yards.
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback Josh Freeman were a dangerous pass-catch combination for Franklin.
Nelson became just the ninth player, and the only offensive player, in K-State history to be named a consensus All-American. He ranked second in the nation in receptions (10.2) and receiving yards (133.8) en route to becoming a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the top receiver in the nation.
Freeman threw for 3,353 yards and ranked 26th nationally in total offense (276.8 ypg) to earn honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. Running back James Johnson tallied 1,106 rushing yards to become a second-team all-league choice.
During the 2006 season, Franklin helped lead the Wildcats to a 7-6 record, a tie for second place in the Big 12's North Division and a berth in the Texas Bowl, ending a two-year postseason drought.
A total of seven players from Franklin's offensive unit earned postseason accolades in 2006, including Freeman, who was tapped as an honorable mention freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
Prior to his stint in Manhattan, Kan., Franklin spent five seasons (2000-04) as the Terps wide receivers coach where he quickly established himself as one of the nation's top recruiters.
In 2003, he was promoted by Friedgen to recruiting coordinator and helped deliver back-to-back recruiting classes that were ranked among the nation's top 25 by several prominent recruiting outlets. Rivals.com also ranked Franklin as one of the nation's top 25 recruiters for two consecutive years while at Maryland.
Maryland's receiving corps also flourished under Franklin's guidance. In 2001, Franklin mentored All-ACC wide receiver Guilian Gary, who led a balanced group of receivers with 49 receptions for 727 yards and six touchdowns.
In both 2002 and 2003, Franklin had four different wideouts record at least 300 receiving yards despite returning just one starter each season.
Prior to his first stint at Maryland, Franklin rose quickly through the coaching ranks, making stops at five different schools in five years. He received his start in coaching at Kutztown University in 1995 as the program's receivers coach before returning to his alma mater as a graduate assistant and secondary coach at East Stroudsburg in 1996.
In 1997, Franklin worked alongside current Kansas State head coach Ron Prince at James Madison, serving as the program's receivers coach. The following season, he received his first coaching assignment at a BCS conference school as the graduate assistant in charge of tight ends at Washington State for the 1998 season. Franklin then moved on to Idaho State in 1999.
A four-year letterman as a quarterback at East Stroudsburg from 1991-94, Franklin was a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection. As a senior in 1994, he garnered team MVP honors and was a Harlon Hill nominee for Division II Player of the Year after setting seven school records.
Franklin earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from East Stroudsburg in 1995 and his master's in educational leadership from Washington State in 1999. He and his wife, Fumi, celebrated the birth of their first child, Ava, in April of 2007 and are expecting a second child in March.