Saquon Barkley is potentially 360-some days away from being a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Barkley could likely go pro after his junior year in 2017, and that will be a question looming over him in the upcoming season. Another one could come around December: Would Barkley consider skipping a bowl game to preserve his health?
It became a controversial trend during the 2016 bowl season with running backs Leonard Fournette (LSU) and Christian McCaffery (Stanford) sitting out their teams’ respective games. Neither LSU nor Stanford was playing in the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s 6 game, and the players both wound up going among the first eight picks in the 2017 NFL Draft.
If Penn State is in a non-major bowl, would Barkley cut his college career short in the best interest of his future? Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel asked him this spring.
“I would have a hard time doing it,” Barkley said. “But I’m not going to sit here and say I would never do it. I don’t know. I could be in a situation next year where I have close to two broken ankles, God forbid, or something going on in my upper body and I can’t play in a game if I’m considering playing in the NFL.”
Barkley is already projected as the top running back in the 2018 NFL Draft. But he has Heisman and national title aspirations in 2017 with Penn State.
Barkley has already compiled 2,572 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns (25 rushing, five receiving) in two years at Penn State.