James Franklin coached receiver Donald Driver with the Green Bay Packers. Now, Franklin will coach Driver's son at Penn State.
Cristian Driver, a highly regarded receiver/defensive back from Texas, announced his commitment to Penn State on Thursday, becoming the 23rd player to join the 2022 recruiting class. Driver also became the 11th player in July alone to commit to Penn State's 2022 class.
Driver made his birthday announcement on CBS Sports HQ. He chose the Nittany Lions over Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State and Arkansas.
A native of Argyle, Texas, Driver (6-0, 180 pounds) is a 4-star prospect, according to Rivals and 247Sports. He is an all-district player at Liberty Christian who plays receiver and defensive back. He projects as a safety in college but could play on either side of the ball at Penn State. In fact, Driver said he wants to play more receiver as a senior in preparation for college.
Driver also participates in track and won the 2021 Texas Associaton of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Class 6A title in the long jump.
Driver has plenty of family history with Franklin. His father Donald, a four-time Pro Bowl receiver and Super Bowl champ with the Packers, spent one season being coached by Franklin in 2005. The two have remained tight since their time together in Green Bay. Driver spent time with the team at the 2019 Cotton Bowl.
"Donald Driver was my guy...," Franklin said during a Coaches Caravan appearance in 2014. "I'm still really close with Donald."
Cristian Driver has known Franklin since he was young, and the recruiting process began long ago. Driver called their relationship "awesome" and said that Franklin long has believed in him.
"It's easy to crack jokes with him, easy to laugh with him and easy to be around him," Cristian said.
Added his father, '[Franklin] is a players' coach. That's the one thing that we had for that one year [in Green Bay]. He really cared for his players. He let us be us, and that was exciting. And that's what I love about him. He's going to let Cristian come in and be Cristian."
Penn State's 2022 recruiting class entered July ranked No. 4 in the SI All-American team rankings. The Lions trailed only Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida State. SI All-American will release its next set of rankings in early August.