Vanderbilt officials, including athletic director David Williams, will meet with head coach James Franklin either Friday or Saturday in an effort to keep him in Nashville, multiple sources tell SB Nation. The school is expected to make a counter offer to the head coach, re-structuring his deal in a hope to steer him away from his rumored departure to Penn State.
Multiple Vanderbilt sources believe Franklin has not yet signed any official agreement with Penn State. The coach has not communicated with players or staff in Nashville. A handshake agreement is reportedly in place with Penn State, and a contract is expected to be approved by the school on Saturday, according to a report from ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
Franklin is scheduled to return to Nashville Friday from Destin, Florida, where he may have met with Penn State officials.
Franklin, who was born in Pennsylvania and went to college in the state, was hired by Vanderbilt in 2011 after a three-year stint as Maryland's offensive coordinator. After just four prior bowls in the school's history (and one since 1982), he has led the Commodores to three straight bowl appearances, including two consecutive bowl victories and two straight nine-win seasons. Vanderbilt had not won nine games in a season since 1915.
The head coach is also receiving reported interest from NFL teams, as the Cleveland Browns have requested to interview him. After leading the Commodores to two straight ranked finishes, it appears the school is attempting whatever they can to keep Franklin around as long as possible.