10 greatest running backs in Penn State football history

Penn State has a remarkable history of dominant running backs, but these 10 stood out amongst the rest in program history. With D.J. Dozier and Ki-Jana Carter on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot, where do those legends rank?
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26)
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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2015-17. . Saquon Barkley. Saquon Barkley. 1. . player. Saquon Barkley. . 491

Saquon Barkley isn’t the all-time leading rusher in Penn State history, that distinction belongs to Evan Royster, but it took Royster 48 games to amass his 3,923 yards while Barkley racked up 3,843 in 10 fewer contests. Barkley, on top of averaging 5.7 yards per carry, had the added element of being an elite pass-catcher, ranking 18th in Penn State history in receptions and first in all-purpose yards. 

At his peak, Barkley was the most dynamic, not just in college football, but in all of football. Destroying defenses with his generational athleticism and eventually getting drafted No. 2 overall in 2018, he is possibly the last running back in history who will be selected that high. 

Players like Trace McSorley, Chris Godwin, and Mike Gesicki helped to reestablish Penn State as a national powerhouse after the Joe Paterno era but it was Barkley most of all who defined the James Franklin era of Penn State football and led the Nittany Lions back to the 2016 Big Ten title.

Next. 15 greatest players of the Joe Paterno era. 15 greatest players of the Joe Paterno era. dark