What’s next for former Penn State RB Saquon Barkley; updated weights, positions for some Nittany Lions
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Greats weigh in on Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley has a lot to live up to when he signs his first NFL contract. And while Penn State’s recent running back history in the league hasn’t been great, its overall history is.
The York Daily Record’s Frank Bodani writes that Barkley must carry the Penn State legacy to the next level like greats Dave Robinson and Lenny Moore did before him.
Bodani caught up with both at the recent York Sports Night, and both have left a lasting legacy on Penn State.
“I don’t care what your job is, you’ve got to know what happened in the past. You’ve got to know what your career is built on,” Robinson, 76, said before meeting fans at the recent York Area Sports Night.
Barkley is expected to go in the top 3 of the NFL draft this spring. The NFL scouting combine will begin Feb. 25 in Indianapolis.
A couple of position swaps already have drawn attention as Penn State begins getting ready for spring football.
But a couple of other moves and notable weight drops also are raising some eyebrows.
Pennlive’s Greg Pickel writes, most notable, the move of defensive end Damion Barber to inside, and a drop in weight for defensive tackle Kevin Givens.
So, what to make of it all?
Another guy who did that, Ryan Buchholz, is checking in at 264 these days, 11 pounds lighter than he was on the last roster, so perhaps the program is aiming to get both near the 270-pound mark, thus giving them the opportunity to move inside to the three-tech spot on running downs and to end on passing downs.
Keep in mind, too, that Brent Pry dialed up a four-end package a couple of times, and not every guy on the field was a prototypical end.
A leaner, faster Penn State defensive tackle, one who is relatively deep, too, could be a problem for the rest of the Big Ten.
Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue recently took his best guess at Penn State’s defensive depth chart for the upcoming season. Givens figures to be in the mix right away, while Barber could take some time to get adjusted to his new position.
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Ranking the best
One of the reasons Penn State will stick around in the national title conversation for a third consecutive season is quarterback Trace McSorley. Though Penn State has to break in new starters at some key positions, McSorley is as sure as it gets at quarterback.
Pennlive.com’s Bob Flounders ranked the 10 best players in the Big Ten’s East Division, and to no one’s surprise, Flounders said McSorley is the top returning player in the division for the 2018 season.
Nick Bosa is the better NFL prospect but the college game is about quarterback play and Penn State dual-threat Trace McSorley should be a Heisman Trophy contender if he can build on his success in 2016 and 2017. McSorley, entering his final season, has put up terrific numbers during his first two seasons as starter and he should still flourish in a Penn State offense replacing Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
For some other perspective on McSorley, WalterFootball has McSorley listed as the 16th-best quarterback available in the 2019 draft.
Elsewhere in the top 10
Mel Kiper released his positional rankings for the upcoming NFL draft, and former Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton made Kiper’s top 10 wide receivers available, writes OnwardState.com’s Matt Fox, by way of ESPN.com.
Kiper has Barkley as his top overall prospect.
Barkley is listed as the No. 1 ranked running back in Kiper’s rankings, in addition to still owning the title of Kiper’s No. 1 overall prospect for the draft. Kiper called Barkley “a lights-out athlete,” in addition to noting that the back is “a stellar runner.”
Hamilton will be a participant at the NFL scouting combine later in February.
Senior day at Rec Hall was a big success for the top-ranked Penn State wrestling team. The Nittany Lions dismantled Buffalo 55-0 to close out the 2017-18 dual-meet schedule.
FightOnState.com’s Mark Brennan writes that it was a great way to end the regular season and head to the Big Ten Tournament, which begins March 3 at Michigan State.
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