Preseason list month rolls on Wednesday, with a unique twist.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports put together a list of the top 20 athletic “freaks” in college football. Feldman has been compiling it for more than 10 years, and says its purpose is to highlight “guys who are the top workout warriors in the sport or the guys who possess some rare physical abilities that wow folks inside their programs.”
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley is listed at No. 9 and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers comes in at No. 10. Former Iowa WR Derrick Willies, now with Texas Tech, is No. 19.
Barkley set a school record for rushing yards by a freshman with 1,076, including 194 against Ohio State. He played in just 10 games and averaged 5.9 yards per carry.
Per Feldman, Barkley posted a 4.00 pro agility time this summer, which would have been the best mark at the NFL Combine.
Peppers is among the most versatile players in college football. He came up as a corner, has played safety and wide receiver, and this season, will play wherever the Wolverines need him in new defensive coordinator Dom Brown’s scheme. That includes linebacker and nickelback.
Last season, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound junior made 45 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and defended 10 passes. He caught eight passes, returned 17 punts with an 11.4 average and carried the ball 18 times for 72 yards.