James Franklin found himself in some elite company on Tuesday.
Penn State's head coach was one of 17 FBS coaches named to the 2021 Bobby Dodd Trophy Preseason Watch List.
Recognized after each season since 1976, the award presented by The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Peach Bowl, that best embodies the three pillars of success laid out by former Georgia Tech head Coach Bobby Dodd: scholarship, leadership and integrity.
In addition to Franklin, four other Big Ten coaches are among the 17 included on the watch list in Tom Allen (Indiana), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin) Ryan Day (Ohio State) and Kirk Ferentz (Iowa).
Franklin is entering his eighth season at the helm in Happy Valley and owns a 60-28 overall record, with the program winning a Big Ten title in 2016 and appearing in three New Year's Six bowl games, winning two.
An updated midseason watch list will be released later this fall. A panel consisting of previous winners, national media members, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list at the end of the 2021 season.
The winner of the 2021 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during the week of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.