NCAA Football News

Penn State HC James Franklin Mistakenly FaceTimes Fan on National Signing Day

National signing day is a blur for college football coaches, most of whom spend the majority of the day tracking down recruits and struggling to stabilize their blood pressure.

Penn State's James Franklin was one such coach especially wrapped up in the frenzy, working hard to close the deal on a formidable Nittany Lions recruiting class.

Somewhere in the fray, however, lines were crossed, and Franklin ended up contacting a dumbstruck fan while attempting to reach a new Penn State signee.

Franklin posted video of the incident Thursday. He was trying to call defensive end prospect Shareef Miller but instead found himself FaceTiming with Aleem Medley, a random Penn State fan.

ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg spoke to Franklin and Miller about the unexpected conversation. The coach said a one-digit misdial might've caused the errant call.

"I guess we were off a digit," Franklin told Rittenberg. "This guy comes on the screen and we're trying to call Shareef Miller and I'm thinking, 'This must be Shareef's older brother or someone I haven't met yet,' and the guy's got a huge smile on his face."

Suffice it to say, Medley didn't foresee the impromptu conference coming.

"It was Coach Franklin," Medley told Rittenberg. "They had all the balloons in the background. I'm like, 'Coach?' … That was the best news I had in a while. I'm on cloud nine right now."

Unfortunately, Medley proved to be out of eligibility and could not slide into Miller's role on the D-line.

It's all good, Medley. Coach just wanted to keep you on your toes.

 

Dan is on Twitter, awaiting the call.

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What Chance Does Blake Barnett Really Have to Be Alabama's Starting QB in 2015?

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Blake Barnett’s arrival at the University of Alabama has been met with much fanfare, and deservedly so.

He is one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2015 class. He is the highest-rated quarterback Nick Saban has signed at Alabama. His social media is sending the hearts of undergraduate females on campus aflutter.

The problem, though, is that the precedent set at Alabama for quarterbacks is waiting for playing time...and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

AJ McCarron was Saban’s youngest starting quarterback while at Alabama when he won the job as a redshirt sophomore. Every signal-caller has redshirted his first season on campus.

So even if Barnett follows the so-far best-case scenario, we won’t be seeing him outside of Snapchat and Twitter until 2017.

But in an offseason of such instability at the quarterback position—there isn’t really a slam-dunk candidate right now to win the job—could Barnett surprise everyone and be Alabama’s starter in 2015?

“Right now I’m just focused on getting down with the playbook, getting stronger and preparing myself just for the season as much as possible,” Barnett said. “The depth chart is something I’m not completely worried about right now. I want to improve myself and my game as much as I can. Obviously, coming from high school to here is a big change, so I’m going to try to get in transition as best as possible and get familiar with the coaches and my teammates. That’s what my main focus is right now.”

It would be bucking a massive trend for Saban and would undoubtedly draw a lot of attention to the other quarterbacks on the roster.

Does it actually have a chance of happening?

Saban says it does.

“I wouldn't rule that out at all,” Saban said on national signing day when asked if he would start a true freshman quarterback. “If he's the best player, why would we not play him? That's like saying a guy is from California so we should not play him because he's from California. We wouldn't have recruited him. If the guy's the best player, we're going to play him.

“Just like Julio Jones was the best player when he was a wide receiver as a freshman and we played him. Amari Cooper was. Trent Richardson was. If a guy's ready to play and he's the best player, that means he's done something to deserve the right to play. “

With all due respect to Saban, he is almost contradicting himself here.

His logic is sound. Of course you would play the best guy at the position. But comparing playing wide receiver or running back as a freshman, like Jones, Cooper and Richardson were, isn’t in the same stratosphere as a quarterback.

In fact, Saban himself admitted as much during fall camp this year.

“I always say that the two positions that I feel like a guy could play at more quickly than others is probably running back and receiver,” Saban said. “I think that if you're an instinctive player, you have the skill set, there's not a whole lot to learn.”

It’s simple enough, if a guy is physically developed and has the skills, to send in a running back for a few carries or a wide receiver for a few routes.

But playing quarterback is obviously a different and more complicated animal. The quarterback has to know what every single player is doing on every single play, make protection calls with the offensive line, recognize coverages, change the play at the line. The list goes on and on.

So how does this all relate back to Barnett?

For him to be the starting quarterback, he has to prove he can do all of those things and be able to do them instinctually. Additionally, he needs to show his physical tools and ability can translate to the college game after just a spring, summer and fall camp on campus.

But he won’t start off as far behind as most freshmen do.

Lane Kiffin has only been Alabama’s offensive coordinator for a little over a year now, bringing in an entirely new scheme and playbook. The other quarterbacks on campus only have a year with Kiffin under their belts. That’s a far cry from a quarterback who comes into an established system.

There is every indication that Barnett has the skill set to compete for the job, but he’ll still face an uphill climb to win it. But he can’t be completely counted out.

And even if he doesn’t win the job this year, his future is still very bright in Tuscaloosa.

“My main goal is to compete for a spot, but right now that’s big-picture things,” Barnett said. “The small picture I’m focusing on right now is to get the playbook down and take it step by step. I think that’s a while away from here.”

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Auburn Reveals It Will Soon Have the Largest Video Board in College Football

Jordan-Hare Stadium, the home of the Auburn Tigers football team, will soon get a major upgrade.

How major? Auburn will upgrade its video board and become the proud owner of the largest big screen in college football. The picture above, uploaded to Auburn's Instagram account, shows how the transformation will look.

[Instagram]

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