While James Franklin was deliberating on whether or not to take the job at Penn State, four-star Vanderbilt safety commit Emmanuel Smith stayed in regular contact with the coach. So when Franklin was officially introduced on Saturday, it's not a big surprise that he and Smith quickly connected.
"He told me that he still wants to be my coach and he wants me to come up there with him," Smith said. "He said I'm one of the guys he thinks can have an impact there with him and he wants to get me on campus soon."
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Smith has been solid to Vanderbilt since the summer and he thought Franklin was staying in Nashville.
"I was kind of surprised, but I can't really be mad at him," Smith said. "It's close to home and it's where he's from. He helped build Vanderbilt to where it is now and he left it in a better place."
Smith added that it was a relief to receive another offer from Franklin.
"If he got the job, I was hoping I would get an offer from him," Smith said. "He liked me enough to play at Vanderbilt and he told me that he would recruit me not matter which school he was coaching at.
Smith said he's still getting acquainted with the Nittany Lions' program.
"I really don't know anything at all right now," he said. "I just know that they have a really good tradition in football. They've had great coaches and they've done big things in football."
Smith said nothing has changed in terms of his commitment to Vanderbilt, but he will be taking several official visits. Schools in the mix for trips include Ole Miss, Penn State, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
"I'm going to take one of my official visits to Penn State just to visit the campus and see how it is," he said. "I'm going to take one to Ole Miss, too, and those are the only two besides Vanderbilt. I'm going to keep my Jan. 24 trip to Vanderbilt scheduled."
Several current or former Vanderbilt commits were offered by Penn State on Saturday night and Smith said that the prospects are keeping an open line of communication during the process.
"Right now everybody is open-minded to the coaches that are reaching out to them," he said. "I know a couple are trying to stay at Vanderbilt and some are looking at other schools and some will follow to Penn State. Everybody is doing their own thing a little bit."
While announcements are still pending on Franklin's staff at Penn State, Smith said he anticipates several of Vanderbilt's assistant coaches to join Franklin in Happy Valley.
As for Vanderbilt, Smith said he will keep an open mind and hear out what the new coaching staff has to say. The same goes for his upcoming trip to Ole Miss.
"It's kind of like restarting whole process again," he said. "I'll go in with an open mind to both places. I know Vanderbilt well, but at Ole Miss I'll be looking to see what they can offer from an education standpoint, see who they're bringing in this class and how they see me fitting into their scheme."
Woody Wommack is a Southeast Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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