Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has emerged as the leading candidate for the Penn State job, according to a report Tuesday.
Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, a respected college football writer, said on Twitter that Franklin, 41, is the "clear front-runner."
Franklin has guided the Commodores to a 24-15 record in three seasons, three bowl games and two straight finishes in the Top 25. They've gone 9-4 each of the last two seasons and have gone 16-4 in their last 20 games.
A native of Neshaminy, Bucks County, Franklin was a standout college quarterback at East Stroudsburg and began his college coaching career at Kutztown in 1995.
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported that several people close to Franklin said they expected Franklin to take the Penn State job.
Clay Travis of FOX Sports and Outkick The Coverage reported that Franklin would accept an offer from Penn State if he received one.
In a possible related development Tuesday, Vanderbilt offensive coordinator John Donovan and defensive coordinator Bob Shoop began following Penn State recruits on Twitter.
Later in the day, Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports reported that Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams said he expected Franklin to remain the Commodores coach.
Vanderbilt revised Franklin's contract in each of his first two offseasons, and Williams said he'd try to do it again. His salary has been estimated at more than $3 million per year.
"I expect James to be our football coach," Williams said. "I'm planning on it. We're looking at facilities. We're working on some stuff.
"I have all thoughts that he's going to be our football coach. I'll do everything I can to make sure that he is."
Perhaps seeing those reports, Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying the coaching search "is progressing very well."
"We are on schedule and I anticipate having the new head coach in place in a matter of days," Joyner said. "The search is robust as we anticipated it would be.
"We have an excellent pool of candidates. I have heard from many coaches, or their representatives, who have expressed their interest in the position."
In other news involving the Penn State coaching search, former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak reportedly has an interview scheduled Friday with the Detroit Lions about their vacant coaching job. Munchak is a Penn State graduate who had been considered a top candidate for the Penn State job.