James Franklin: “Aaron Donald Has HURT College Football”

Aaron Donald is one of the greatest players of this generation.

It’s become impossible to argue that.

A relentless dominant force, Donald is virtually unstoppable on the football field.

Penn State head coach James Franklin is certainly a fan.. How could you not be?

However, in the same breath of his praise of Donald, he also said that he has “hurt college football and defensive tackles.”

“I’m a huge Aaron Donald fan,” Franklin told Nittany Central. “Aaron Donald has hurt college football and defensive tackles, in my opinion, because every single one of these kids think they’re Aaron Donald. ‘Well, I’m going to lose weight, and I’m going to be more athletic.’”

“Well, there’s been one Aaron Donald in 50 years at his size to be as disruptive as he is and as strong and as quick and as explosive. The problem is, everyone thinks they’re the exception.”

“The reality is there’s been a lot more 300-pound defensive tackles that have had great NFL and college careers than there’s been the 275-, 285-pound D-tackles. Don’t get me wrong, if Aaron Donald wants to come to Penn State, we want him. But our guys need to understand that’s the exception, not the rule.. And we gotta kind of find the happy medium between the two.”

It’s a very interesting point by Franklin – but let’s be clear.. Aaron Donald hasn’t hurt anything.

Yes, it’s very unorthodox for him to be so dominant, yet so undersized as a 6-foot-1, 280 pound defensive tackle.

But how the hell is that his fault?

Of course, he’s an inspiration to players – and rightfully so.

It’s up to those players to become the very best they can be, just like Donald did.

Of course I understand Franklin’s overall point that size-wise Donald is very much the exception to the rule as a defensive tackle – and that it may not be wise for younger players to try to follow in his footsteps without bulking up.

But if a player can’t realize their full potential (with the help of coaches), it’s on them – not Aaron Donald.

Regardless, Franklin was absolutely right about how much of a freak Donald is…

The college football world reacted to Franklin’s comments on social media…

“I could think of tons of guys like that. Undersized, fast & strong. These guys are very clearly physical specimens and highly athletic but they’ve always existed and until AD really stood out, they’ve flown under the radar unless you go back to the 80’s when guys were smaller.”

“It’s kinda true. Like Steph Curry. Not everybody shoots like him but they try. Unsuccessfully.”

“I’ve heard that Donald plays at 255. Best defensive tackle since Alan Page who was undersized himself.”

“Even if you don’t like James Franklin, he’s not wrong about this BUT it’s hardly Aaron Donald’s fault.”