Penn State Football 2017 Position Preview: Running Backs

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back Saquon Barkley
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back Saquon Barkley /

It’s no contest for the top group on Penn State football’s roster. The backfield holds the edge over everyone because they feature Saquon Barkley.

It’s tough to give a group so much credit due to one player, but Saquon Barkley gives Penn State football the greatest threat in college football. Few backs feature the total package especially while they’re in college. However, Barkley does as a runner.He’s got game-breaking speed and cuts close to the all-time great backs in NFL history. Barkley adds an underrated power element that gets lost in his flashy speed. He catches the ball well out of the backfield.

Through two seasons, Barkley compiled 3,135 scrimmage yards and 30 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per touch. He showed out in each season and if he puts together another season like his sophomore year he could become Penn State’s all-time leading rushing.

The hype surrounding Barkley reached similar levels of Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette. The NFL already has its eye on him and he’ll likely be the next running back taken in the first round.

The only thing he needs to work on at times is pass blocking. But, he’s shown flashes of quality play there as well. Wisconsin’s stout defense got past a few times, but he can’t be perfect every play.

Penn State’s depth comes into play from there. Andre Robinson came in during some pass-blocking situations, and displayed some great burst in just 31 touches. He scored six touchdowns and took the lead in Nittany Lions’ deep roster. Beyond Robinson, Penn State football features two other great backs in Miles Sanders and Mark Allen.

Sanders came to Happy Valley as another Highly-touted back. He didn’t get to show too much of his running prowess. But, he did help the team out in the return game. He recorded 58 touches through rushing, receiving and returning last year. Those numbers should rise after Barkley’s departure.

Allen finishes the depth chart with a spark plug, low-gravity pounder. He’s the old man of this group being a redshirt junior. He scored four touchdowns over the last two years and adds a fourth back into the mix.

Although most of the of the backups don’t see much time, they’re more than capable of taking over if Barkley goes down. However, Barkley can take this team the distance as long as he continues to be the threat he’s been the last two years.

Must Read: Penn State Football 2017 Player Profile: Chasz Wright

Barkley’s not just the best back in the Big Ten. He tops the list of every back in college football, and  it’s not even close.