RB Saquon Barkley (2015-17)
If there was a face of the new era of Penn State football, it would be Saquon Barkley.
The running back emerged as a true freshman in 2015, carrying the ball 182 times for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 20 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown as well.
It was the following year where Barkley became a household name though. The sophomore tailback carried the ball 272 times for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also had 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns.
This insane production helped carry the Nittany Lions to their first Big Ten title since 2008. The Nittany Lions had finally emerged from the ashes of the sanctions.
Barkley earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors, the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year award and First-Team All-Big Ten honors after the 2016 season.
Needless to say, he entered the 2017 season as a Heisman favorite. That year, Barkley carries the ball 217 times for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also caught 54 passes for 632 yards and three touchdowns. That year, Barkley also threw a touchdown pass and returned to kicks for touchdowns.
Barkley finished the season fourth in Heisman voting while once again being named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He also won the Ameche-Dayne Award again in addition to winning the Paul Hornung Award and the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year award.
This led to Barkley being the No. 2 pick the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
If you ask any young fan who their favorite player is, most will say Barkley. He is the new generation’s hero. Additionally, Barkley is second in program history in rushing yards, but is first in scrimmage yards, scrimmage touchdowns and receptions by a running back.