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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) was selected with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Giants Thursday night in Arlington, Texas. Barkley is the 14th Penn State player to be drafted by the New York Giants and joins former Nittany Lion Kyle Carter on the Giants roster.
A total of 345 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, which ranks seventh among Division I institutions, including 37 in the first round. Of the 14 Penn Staters getting chosen by the New York Giants, Barkley is the first Nittany Lion the Giants have chosen in the first round.
As the No. 2 pick, Barkley becomes Penn State's fifth top-2 pick, joining Ki-Jana Carter, Courtney Brown, LaVar Arrington (2000) and Blair Thomas (1990). He is the 34th Nittany Lion running back selected all-time with 11 of those ball carriers going in the first round. The 11 first-round running backs are tied for the most of any NCAA program with Ohio State.
Barkley is the first Nittany Lion to go in the first round since Jared Odrick was selected with the 28th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins in the 2010 NFL Draft and the first Penn State running back selected in the NFL Draft since Evan Royster went to the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2011 event.
Barkley joins John Cappelletti (1974), Carter (1995), D.J. Dozier (1987), Curtis Enis (1998), Franco Harris (1972), Larry Johnson (2003), Booker Moore (1981), Lenny Moore (1956), Thomas (1990) and Curt Warner (1983) as Nittany Lion running backs chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The record-setting running back is the highest-drafted Penn Stater since Courtney Brown was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and is the highest-drafted running back since USC's Reggie Bush was picked No. 2 overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft. The last running back to go No. 1 was Penn State's Carter going to the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995.
"We are beyond excited for Saquon to be the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft," Penn State Head Coach James Franklin said. "He is a once in a lifetime-type player with his work ethic, football IQ and athletic prowess. You will not find a guy who will work harder on the field, in the film room or in the weight room. He is constantly trying to improve himself. He is a guy who will instantly make an impact for the New York Giants in the locker room and on the field, not only because of the kind of player he is, but because of the man he is."
"Saquon Barkley is one of the best players to ever wear the Blue & White, but he is an even better person," offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne said. "I am quite sure that he will not only have a profound impact on the field for his new team in the NFL, but he will also be a leader in the community. He left a legacy in Happy Valley that future Nittany Lions will be striving to match for decades to follow."
Saquon Barkley, RB, 5-11, 230, Coplay, Pa./Whitehall
- 2017 unanimous NCAA Consensus All-American
- Is the 42nd Consensus All-American in program history.
- Is the 14th unanimously-selected Consensus All-American in program history.
- 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.
- 2017 Paul Hornung Award winner (most versatile player in college football)
- Finished fourth in the 2017 Heisman Trophy voting
- 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)
- 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).
- Selected as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award, Lombardi 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.
- 2017 Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year.
- 2017 Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year.
- First-team all-conference running back (coaches & media).
- First-team All-Big Ten return specialist (coaches & media).
- 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.
- Ranked No. 2 in the FBS and leads the Big Ten in all-purpose yards (179.15).
- Ranked 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.
- Was tied for No. 4 nationally and leads the Big Ten lead in total touchdowns (23).
- Was tied for No. 5 nationally and leads the Big Ten in scoring per game (10.6).
- Ranked 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.
- 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.
Penn State returns 13 starters (8 offensive, 3 defensive, 2 specialists) and 26 additional lettermen. The Nittany Lions open the season at Beaver Stadium against Appalachian State September 1.
Nearly 5,800 new season tickets have already been sold for the 2018 season presented by PSECU. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.