Penn State RB Saquon Barkley probably won’t see the lion’s share of carries during spring practice, which opens up some playing time for the team’s ther scholarship running backs. That includes rising sophomore Miles Sanders, who was the No. 1 running back in the Class of 2016, according to the 247Sports composite.
“I think Barkley, I think our plan will be very similar to what is was last spring and probably during training camp as well,” Penn State coach James Franklin told reporters Tuesday.
Enter Sanders, who has bulked up after a freshman season in which he played all 13 games and averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 25 attempts. Penn State’s official roster lists Sanders at 205 pounds, but expect that to be updated.
“I think he’s actually up to 224 (pounds) right now,” Franklin said. “I texted his mom last night or two nights ago that her baby looks like a man right now. He was standing next to Saquon and they are two impressive-looking guys.
“Now, he doesn’t have Saquon’s legs, but few people do. He’s put together right now, and his mom was amazed at how he looks.”
Sanders apparently received quite an introduction when he arrived last June to begin working out with the team. Barkley, who had 20 pounds on him, easily outclassed the freshman in the weight room.
“It’s welcome to college football and you’re Miles Sanders, the No. 1 running back in the country and you show up and Saquon Barkley is warming up with your maxes,” Franklin said. “The competitive juices get going and it has an effect. Competition is a positive thing, and it brings out the best.”
Sanders still got only 25 carries last season, fourth-most among the team’s running backs. This spring, he’ll have to duke it out for snaps with fellow rising sophomore Andre Robinson and rising junior Mark Allen.