CHICAGO — Penn State junior running back Saquon Barkley’s gotten a lot of preseason ink this year, because he’s had two strong seasons and revealed himself to be a workout warrior on the grandest scale possible. Barkley has 30 touchdowns and more than 3,000 scrimmage yards through his sophomore season, and he can pick up 405 pounds off the ground and put all of them on his shoulders.
Penn State Strong! Barkley 405lbs Power Clean pic.twitter.com/1LnAEYqy73— Iron Lions (@IronLions1) June 29, 2017
That sounds like another recent Big Ten running back: Ezekiel Elliott.
The Ohio State star led the Buckeyes to the national title in 2014. Elliott was known that year for his legendary ab muscles and incredible speed, and he racked up huge numbers. In Elliott’s last two years in Columbus, he had 41 touchdowns and more than 4,000 scrimmage yards.
At Big Ten Media Days on Monday, someone asked OSU coach Urban Meyer about the fairness of comparing the young Barkley to Elliott, now an NFL star.
“Probably pretty fair,” Meyer said. “I think he's that quality of a back, that quality of a worker, from everything I hear and read. So I think that's very fair.”
Meyer’s had a couple of good looks at Barkley already. Last year, he ran for 99 yards on 12 carries (an 8.3-yard average) against OSU. The year before, Barkley toted the rock 26 times for 194 yards against the Buckeyes as a true freshman.
The Barkley hype train isn’t slowing down.
Get on board. If not, it’ll run you over. Or maybe it’ll just go around you. Or maybe it’ll do both.