James Franklin's message to Miles Sanders was very simple.
"Just make sure that I'm coming here," Sanders said Franklin told him.
The Pittsburgh Woodland Hills four-star running back has the skill set to become one of the most sought after prospects in Pennsylvania in the class of 2016. That much, and more, was on display Sunday at the Lions' first football camp of the summer.
Franklin didn't miss the memo, as he and his staff showed the sophomore runner plenty of attention throughout the day. At one point, he drove off with Sanders in a golf cart. Later, offensive coordinator John Donovan was seen doing the same.
The attention meant plenty to Sanders. But what he learned from the assembled assistants, including running backs coach Charles Huff, stuck with him at the end of the day, too.
"It was awesome, just getting to work with the running backs coach that's been recruiting me," Sanders said. "I like how he coaches and I think I could play here."
"I've got [that message before], but it was more direct. It was just a good feeling. Right now, I know Penn State would be one of my top two choices."
Huff is a big reason why, the junior said. The duo worked together at various stages throughout the day, and more often than not, Sanders was at the front of the line during position work.
"He just made sure we understand what we are doing," Sander said. "He didn't make anyone do anything they weren't comfortable doing, and, just, he's a good coach overall.
"[He was teaching] how running backs keep their knees in. I learned a lot."
Sanders rushed for 1,064 yards and 8.3 yards per carry as a sophomore. Yet, his connection to another Lions' assistant stretches deeper than that.
It's Terry Smith, of course, the Lions' cornerbacks coach and former Gateway head coach. Sanders' Woodland Hills side matched up with Gateway in the playoffs when Smith was still in charge, and though equaled only a brief encounter, Sanders said the familiarity is a plus for the Lions.
"He's just real close because he's from Pittsburgh and I'm from Pittsburgh," Sanders said. "So, if I came here, I'd have a nice relationship with him."
Pittsburgh marks the next stop on the back's summer schedule, and more stops could be added.