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Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards this past season

Assessing Heisman odds of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, Ohio State takes aim at Lions commit and more

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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Feb. 9. Let’s get started.

Barkley and the Heisman hunt

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Johnson argues that the chances of Penn State running back Saquon Barkley winning the Heisman Trophy in 2017 are far better than the 10-1 odds the Bovada posted last month.

Johnson points out that Barkley’s Heisman campaign began with PSU’s thrilling 52-49 loss to USC in the Rose Bowl, a game in which he generated 194 yards on the ground – including an electrifying 79-yard touchdown run in the third quarter – as well as 55 receiving yards.

The other factors in Barkley’s favor, Johnson writes, are a soft non-conference schedule (with the exception of the Sept. 9 home game against Pitt), followed by the usual marquee Big Ten games against Ohio State and Michigan.

In two years Barkley has already accumulated 2,472 yards on the ground, leaving him 13th on the school’s all-time list. He is just the eighth player in school history with two 1,000-yard seasons, and his 1,496-yard output this past season was the fifth-best season ever.

He almost certainly has just one collegiate season left, as the NFL will beckon at the end of the next campaign. There is always the looming specter of injury, not to mention the possibility that a Heisman-worthy season by Lions quarterback Trace McSorley will lead voters to look in his direction.

But at this early juncture, it’s hard to believe Barkley won’t be in the thick of the race.

Ohio State offers Luketa

PSU’s 2018 recruiting class already consists of 10 commits and is rated first in the nation by

Now it’s a matter not only of fleshing out the class, but warding off poachers.

Brian Linder of writes that one of the Lions’ early commits Jesse Luketa, a 3-star linebacker from Mercyhurst Prep in Erie, Pa. received an offer Tuesday from Ohio State.

There will be much more drama on this front in the weeks and months ahead. But on Monday, at least, Luketa told Pennlive the following:

“I was ecstatic to finally announce my commitment to Penn State and Coach (James) Franklin. We have something amazing going on with the other commits.”

And on the hoops recruiting front …

Late Wednesday night the men’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from forward Trent Buttrick, a forward from the Community School of Naples, Fla.

The 6-foot-8 Buttrick is a native of Bloomsburg, Pa., but has played the last two years at CSN, according to the Daily Collegian. That outlet, quoting, noted he is a 2-star prospect, and had offers from Air Force, Charlotte and the Citadel.

He also told the Collegian the following about his decision, via Twitter direct message:

“I chose Penn State because it’s in my home state and close to my home town. Their academics are unbelievable and they have so many connections around the world. From a basketball standpoint I chose Penn State because it’s my dream school and couldn’t have asked for anything else. Coach (Pat) Chambers is a great guy and an awesome coach. I also have built a great relationship with assistant coach (Ryan) Anderson.”

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