James Franklin assembles strong class in short time

James Franklin made the most of the little time he had to complete his first recruiting class at Penn State.

Hired Jan. 11 to take over the sanction-riddled program after Bill O’Brien left for the NFL’s Houston Texans, Franklin signed 20 recruits Wednesday — 11 on offense, nine on defense — to complement five others who enrolled at Penn State in January. The class was ranked 21st by national recruiting services Scout and Rivals.

Franklin, who left Vanderbilt after three seasons, signed highly rated receivers Saeed Blacknall, De’Andre Thompkins and Chris Godwin to team with quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who led the Nittany Lions to a 7-5 record last season as a freshman.

Franklin’s defensive class is highlighted by California defensive back Koa Farmer and defensive lineman Tarow Barney, a 300-pound tackle from Northwest Mississippi Community College.

Oklahoma: Coach Bob Stoops was happy, but when is any coach ever unhappy on signing day? "I believe it's one of our better recruiting classes that we've had through the years," Stoops said. "Hard to compare when you're looking at 15 years of doing it, but I feel this ranks right up there with any of them." The top player is 6-foot-2, 216-pound Joe Mixon, listed as Rivals.com's No. 1 running back and 247Sports.com's No. 1 all-purpose back. He ran for 1,704 yards and 23 touchdowns and caught 18 passes for 383 yards and seven touchdowns. Auburn and Florida State were among the schools who hoped to get Mixon.

Louisville: Bobby Petrino believes he made the most of his small recruiting window since taking over as coach last month. The Cardinals announced a 21-player class that included former Penn State quarterback Tyler Ferguson, who's transferring after one season with the Nittany Lions.

Texas: Next year's class will be the first truly credited to Charlie Strong. The new Texas coach had only three weeks after the NCAA dead period to make adjustments to the group he inherited from Mack Brown. Strong held most of the 2014 class together, namely holding on to quarterback Jerrod Heard and defensive end Derick Roberson. In the top 55 of the Austin American-Statesmen for 2015, four are committed to Texas A&M (2), LSU (1) and Alabama (1).

USC: Steve Sarkisian's first signing day as coach could not have gone much better. Three of the highest-rated players that entered the day undecided picked the Trojans, starting with 360-pound offensive lineman Damien Mama from Bellflower, Calif. Next up was Adoree' Jackson from Gardena, Calif. The five-star cornerback put his own spin on the pick-a-hat announcement ceremony by digging through a shopping bag for his choice. He pulled out a sports drink, a sneaker, some other stuff, before slapping on a USC hat. The theatrics fell a bit flat, but no doubt Trojans coaches and fans were entertained.

Michigan State: Malik McDowell wants to go to Michigan State. The five-star defensive end said so during a news conference at Southfield (Mich.) High School. His father, who has said publicly he would rather have his son leave Michigan and go to Ohio State or Florida State, now is on board. McDowell's mother, Joya Crowe, wasn't at the announcement. She has said she had a bad experience at Michigan State and wants her son to go elsewhere. Michigan State's official list of signees released Wednesday afternoon did not have McDowell's name on it.