Junior running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) has decided to forgo his senior season and has declared for the NFL Draft. He was unanimously selected to the 2017 NCAA Consensus All-America team, becoming the 42nd student-athlete in program history to earn the honor. He finished his career second on Penn State’s career rushing yards list.
“I would like to start off by saying thank you so much for all of the memories that you have helped create over the last three years, whether it be on the football field, in school or in the community,” Barkley said. “I am forever grateful to you for making my time here so enjoyable. You have been amazing to me through the ups and downs of my career and you will always have a special place in my heart.
“With that being said, God has blessed me with the opportunity to pursue the dream I have had since I was a little kid of playing in the NFL. I would like to thank God, my family, especially my mom, dad, brothers and sisters, my coaches and teammates, the athletic training and performance enhancements staffs at Penn State, my support system from Whitehall and the Penn State fans who have helped me be in position to have a decision like this. After lots of thought, prayer and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
“I hope I have left a lasting impression on this University, football program and community at large. It has been an honor and privilege to be able to call Penn State home and represent the Blue & White and all of the great players who came before me and will follow after me. I will continue to work each and every day to continue to represent Penn State the right way as I move on to the next phase of my life.
“I am aware I am coming up short on getting my degree, but I have made a promise to my mom, dad and Coach Franklin that I will continue to pursue my dream of obtaining a Penn State degree.
“I am so thankful to my family for all of the sacrifices they made to get me in this position. To my teammates and coaches for the last three years, it has been a blessing to call you guys family. I love you guys so much. To the 107k strong, I will miss you and the amazing support you have shown me and the Penn State Football program. We Are!”
“Saquon Barkley is a once in a lifetime type of player and it has been an honor to coach him and watch him grow into a fantastic young man,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said. “Saquon has left a legacy both on and off the field that will long be remembered by the Penn State community. Saquon knows he has some unfinished business in the classroom. Knowing how much it means to him, I have the utmost confidence that he will follow through on his promise and the plan that we have discussed to earn his Penn State degree. As good of a player as he is, he is an even better person and I look forward to watching him achieve his dream of playing in the NFL. We wish him nothing but the best on Sundays and we know that he will make us Penn State proud!”
Barkley collected several honors this season, winning the Paul Hornung Award for college football’s most versatile player and dominating the Big Ten major awards, winning 2017 Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, 2017 Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year and 2017 Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year – as well as winning the Chicago Tribune Silver Football for the second-straight year for the conference’s best player. The Coplay, Pennsylvania native also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and became the 100th first-team All-American in Penn State history.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Jr./Jr., 5-11, 230, Coplay, Pa./Whitehall
2017 unanimous NCAA Consensus All-American
Is the 42nd Consensus All-American in program history.
Is Penn State’s first offensive Consensus All-American since Larry Johnson in 2002.
Is the 14th unanimously-selected Consensus All-American in program history.
Is the first unanimous Consensus All-American since Carl Nassib in 2015.
2017 All-America first team selection
AFCA first-team running back, Sporting News first-team athlete, Associated Press first-team all-purpose, Football Writers Association of America first-team all-purpose and Walter Camp first-team running back.
Is the 100th first-team All-American in Penn State history.
Is the first Penn Stater to win first team honors since defensive end Carl Nassib in 2015.
Is the first Nittany Lion offensive player to earn Walter Camp first-team All-America status since A.Q. Shipley in 2008 (Stefen Wisniewski was on Camp’s second team in 2010).
Is the first Penn State running back to be named first team All-America since Larry Johnson in 2002.
2017 Paul Hornung Award winner (most versatile player in college football)
Is the first Penn State player to win the Paul Hornung Award.
Is the second-straight Big Ten player to win the Hornung Award (Jabrill Peppers, Michigan).
Finished fourth in the 2017 Heisman Trophy voting
Is the 18th Penn State player to finish in the top-10 in Heisman voting.
Is the first Penn State player to finish in the Heisman top 10 since Michael Robinson finished fifth in 2005.
Marks the highest finish in Heisman voting by a Penn State player since Larry Johnson was third in 2002.
Earned All-America honors from Sports Illustrated (1st team all-purpose; 2nd team running back), The Athletic (1st team all-purpose), SB Nation (1st team running back; honorable mention kick returner), USA Today (2nd team running back) and College Sports Madness (1st team running back; 2nd team kick returner).
2017 Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner (best player in the Big Ten)
Wins the award for the second-straight seasons (shared with J.T. Barrett in 2016).
Is the fifth player since the award’s inception in 1924 to claim the honor twice, joining the elite list of Minnesota’s Paul Giel (1952-53), Ohio State’s Archie Griffin (1973-74), Indiana’s Anthony Thompson (1988-89) and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (2012-13).
This is the sixth time a Penn State player has won the Silver Football.
Selected as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
Is the second player in conference history to win three Big Ten Conference major awards, joining Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers (Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year, Return Specialist of the Year) in 2016.
2017 Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
Is the first back-to-back Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year since Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (2012 & 2013).
Is the third player to win multiple Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors (Miller; Drew Brees, Purdue in 1998 & 2000).
Is the first running back to win multiple Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors.
This is the fifth time a Penn State player has won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (Kerry Collins, 1994; Curtis Enis, 1997; Michael Robinson, 2005; Barkley, 2016).
Is the first Penn State player to win Big Ten OPOY twice.
This is the fourth consecutive year that a running back has won the award.
2017 Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year.
Is the first player to win back-to-back Big Ten Running Back of the Year since Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (2011 & 2012).
2017 Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year.
Is the first Penn State player to be Return Specialist of the Year (award established in 2015).
First-team all-conference running back (coaches & media).
First-team All-Big Ten return specialist (coaches & media).
Second-straight first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media.
Marks the third all-conference honor of his career after first team bid in 2016 and second team berth in 2015.
Is just the second running back in Penn State history to earn back-to-back first team honors, joining Curtis Enis (1996 & 1997).
Is the first Penn State player to be named all-conference return specialist (added in 2015).
Named Associated Press Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and All-Big Ten first team, as well as Pro Football Focus All-Big Ten first team.
Is 1-of-5 student-athlete in the FBS with four all-purpose plays of 80 yards or longer in 2017.
Ranks No. 2 in the FBS and leads the Big Ten in all-purpose yards (179.15).
Ranks No. 5 nationally and leads the Big Ten in kickoff return touchdowns (2).
Is the 24th FBS player to produce 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a season since 2000.
Sits tied for No. 4 nationally and leads the Big Ten lead in total touchdowns (23).
Is tied for No. 5 nationally and leads the Big Ten in scoring per game (10.6).
Ranks No. 9 in the FBS and leads the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns (18).
Owns nine games with 200-plus all-purpose yards in his career (four in 2016, five in 2017).
His six Player of the Week honors in 2017 (four offensive, two special teams) are the most in a single season in Big Ten history.
Is tied for the program single season record with two kickoff return touchdowns, equaling the marks of Chuck Peters (1940), Curt Warner (1980) and Derrick Williams (2008).
Ranks No. 2 on the single season all-purpose yards list with 2,329 yards in 2017, just the second player in program history to eclipse the 2,000 all-purpose yard mark (Larry Johnson, 2,655; 2002).
Set the single game all-purpose yards mark with 358 at Iowa (9/23/17), accounting for 211 yards rushing, 94 yards receiving and 53 yards on kickoff return, topping Curt Warner’s previous mark of 341 vs. Syracuse in 1981.
Named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week (Barrett, OSU) on Sept. 4 after rushing for 174 yards and totaling 246 all-purpose yards vs. Akron.
Earned Big Ten Rose Bowl Player of the Week on Sept. 5 after his effort vs. Akron in the season opener.
Selected to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll on Sept. 11 after posting 183 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns vs. Pittsburgh.
Named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25 after breaking the school record for all-purpose yards (358) vs. Iowa.
Graded out as the top offensive player in the FBS during week four by Pro Football Focus to earn a spot on the National Team of the Week.
The effort vs. Iowa also earned him Rose Bowl Big Ten Player of the Week and Maxwell Award Player of the Week, along with a spot on the Hornung Award Honor Roll and Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week.
Named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week and garnered a spot on the Hornung Award Honor Roll on Oct. 2 after posting 205 all-purpose yards vs. Indiana, including a 98-yard kickoff return for the touchdown to open the game.
Garnered Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, along with earning a spot on the Hornung Award Honor Roll, on Oct. 23 after piling up 176 all-purpose yards vs. Michigan.
Added his second Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week Award on Oct. 30 after returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown at Ohio State.
Garnered Big Ten Player of the Week and a spot on the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week after logging 224 all-purpose yards vs. Nebraska (11/18).
Scored a touchdown in 15-straight games from Oct. 29, 2016-Oct. 28, 2017, which set the Penn State school record, passing Curtis Enis’ 14-game streak from 1996-97.
Had a streak of nine-straight games with a rushing touchdown snapped vs. Georgia State, which was the longest streak by a Penn Stater since Larry Johnson had 11 in a row in 2002.