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Saquon Barkley generated 1,898 yards and 22 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2016.

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley judged to be nation’s best back, coaches head into busy stretch and more

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at as we work to prepare you for everything you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, May 31. Let’s get started.

More acclaim for Saquon Barkley

Penn State junior Saquon Barkley was judged to be the nation’s best running back in a Sports on Earth piece on Tuesday that listed the top 40. The Orlando Sentinel’s Matt Murschel mentioned Barkley among 10 potential impact players in the Big Ten this fall, while including three other Lions — quarterback Trace McSorley, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton and tight end Mike Gesicki.

Safety Marcus Allen or offensive tackle Ryan Bates could have made the cut ahead of Hamilton, a solid, steady veteran. But that’s a minor quibble. The larger point is that the Lions’ 2016 conference-championship team continues to cause ripples, Barkley in particular.

He is coming off a season in which he produced 1,898 yards and 22 touchdowns from scrimmage. Barring injury an even bigger season is not out of the question. As Sports on Earth’s Matt Brown writes:

It doesn’t matter what his final rushing total in a game is. At some point over the course of three hours on a Saturday, Barkley is going to do something that ends up in a highlight reel.

So, will the Spring of Saquon give way to the Season of Saquon? He has an improved line in front of him, and an experienced offense around him. It would appear to be a matter of health, because opposing defenses will give him at least as much attention as he is currently receiving.

Camping trips ahead

Mark Brennan of Fight on State writes that the PSU coaches have a busy schedule over the next six weeks. They are scheduled to appear at no fewer than nine camps in that span, beginning Friday at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.

Six of those camps are in State College. The others are at Middle Tennessee State on Sunday and at Northern Illinois on June 14.

Four golfers named all-region

PSU’s Cole Miller was named to the All-Northeast Region golf team for the third straight year. Teammate Charles Huntzinger was honored for the second straight season as the Lions placed four players on the team.

Ryan Davis and JD Hughes also made the squad, marking the third consecutive year Penn State has filled four spots on the 25-man squad. The Lions had more honorees than any other school in the region, and tied for the lead among Big Ten teams.

Davis led the Nittany Lions with a 2-over-par 218 (76-71-71) last weekend at the NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. PSU finished in a tie for 24th.

Lindsey Spann lands at South Carolina

Basketball graduate transfer Lindsey Spann, who averaged 12.3 points a game in three seasons at Penn State, will play her final collegiate season at South Carolina, the reigning women’s national champion.

Spann, a 5-foot-6 guard, started 14 of 29 games for the Lady Lions last season and averaged 10.5 ppg, second-best on the team to Teniya Page (19.9). After redshirting the 2013-14 season with a knee injury, she scored 1,091 points in three seasons and buried 143 3-pointers, eighth-most in school history.

She will help fill a void at South Carolina resulting from the departures of guards Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray to the WNBA.

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