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Saquon Barkley used to own a Barry Sanders action figure. Now he is being compared to the retired Detroit Lions star.

New twists in the tale of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, James Franklin talks new deal and more

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A different look at Saquon Barkley

Somehow Hallie Grossman of ESPN the Magazine found a way to break new ground in the latest profile of Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

She writes that Barkley, who owned a Barry Sanders action figure as a youngster, is now being compared to the retired Detroit Lions star by an NFL scout. That his family moved out of the Bronx when drug dealers took over their apartment building and wouldn’t allow them entry. That he compares himself to the very best athletes in the college game, such as LSU’s Derrius Guice, who is the other back expected to go early in next spring’s draft.

Barkley also shares with Grossman something his dad, Alibay, always told him: “Don’t try to be the next anybody. Make people want to be the next you.”

James Franklin: New deal is ‘about stability’

James Franklin had his first chance to address his contract extension after practice Wednesday, and as related by Fightonstate.com’s Mark Brennan, Franklin said it was “about stability” and added, “We have started to build something here that I think can be really special. It provides stability obviously for my family. But it also provides stability for my assistant coaches, it provides stability their families, it provides stability for our players, it provides stability in recruiting. All those types of things.”

The line on the O-line

John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times writes that while the depth chart won’t be revealed until next week, the picture seems much clearer, especially along the offensive line. The likely starters appear to be Ryan Bates at left tackle, Steven Gonzalez at left guard, Connor McGovern at center, Brendan Mahon at right guard and either Andrew Nelson or Chasz Wright at right tackle.

More on the line

A handful of pieces about offensive linemen emerged from the pipeline Wednesday. Blue White Illustrated’s Tim Owen profiles Gonzalez, who after failing to crack the two-deep entering last season is now a likely starter, while Sean Fitz of Lions247 catches up with tackle Will Fries and center Zach Simpson.

Props for freshman cornerback

The Daily Collegian quoted wide receiver coach Josh Gattis as saying after Wednesday’s practice that freshman cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields “is going to be special,” and the Collegian’s Paddy Cotter provides a feature about the newcomer.

PSU’s pros — a progress report

Pennlive.com reviews the progress of Penn State’s NFL products, and Pennliver Aaron Kasinitz writes about former Lion Cameron Wake, one of the cornerstones of the Miami Dolphins’ defense.

Also in the Land of 10

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