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Heisman talk picking up for Penn States Saquon Barkley

Time:2016-11-15 13:29Shoes websites Click:

Talk Heisman picking Penn States

It started on Election Day. But don’t call it a campaign.

After topping 200 total yards once again last Saturday, Saquon Barkley started popping up on the Heisman lists of a few national outlets this week.

So, on Tuesday afternoon, Penn State began promoting its star tailback just a bit by putting out a graphic of him standing at a podium with the Heisman logo on it. Behind him were people holding up signs promoting “SAQUON FOR HEISMAN” and other national awards.

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin has been trying to manage the growing hype around his team in the past month, and that includes not going all-out on promotion.

“Yeah, I don’t know if I’d call running a graphic a campaign,” Franklin said. “If there were a campaign, we’d have a full meeting with the marketing department. It wasn’t that. But they did a great job putting something together. I thought it looked cool, and it went along with the election.

“So I wouldn’t call it a campaign. But I think his name is starting to come up in these conversations, and rightfully so. Although it’s looked at as an individual honor, we don’t look at it that way. It comes from the whole team’s success.”

Regardless of what the school ends up doing for Barkley, who leads the Big Ten with 1,055 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, his teammates are happy to answer whether he’s a legitimate Heisman candidate.

“Of course,” safety Marcus Allen said. “Hey, that’s that. You don’t gotta ask me that. You know I’m gonna say he is. I don’t know why people ain’t talking about him. Everybody should know that he’s a Heisman contender.”

As for Barkley himself, he said he hears plenty from family and friends as his profile continues to rise, but those same people also help keep him grounded by talking to him about life outside of football.

“Growing up playing video games, Playing (the NCAA Football series), that’s what you dream about, being able to be in that (Heisman) talk,” Barkley said. “I’m really not looking too much into it right now. Trying to stick to what’s at hand.

“But I saw that (graphic), and that was really cool. You just can’t pay too much attention to it.”

One person that Barkley — and everyone else in the college football world — can’t help but pay attention to is Lamar Jackson.

Louisville’s stellar quarterback is far and away the Heisman favorite as the season ticks down, and for good reason.

Jackson actually has better rushing numbers than Barkley, racking up 1,181 and 19 touchdowns in five fewer attempts. And that’s before even getting into his season passing line of 2,753 yards and 26 more scores.

Barkley and Jackson are both true sophomores who were part of the 2015 signing class. They played together in the 2015 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl after their senior seasons in high school.

“So what he’s doing is no surprise to me,” Barkley said. “What that guy’s doing in college football right now is ridiculous. I’ve probably never seen a player at his position doing what he’s doing.

“I’m not blind — I see other (Heisman hopefuls), and Lamar Jackson is everywhere right now. Credit to him because he’s doing an amazing job helping Louisville. He’s a playmaker.”

LB Smith recognized

Junior linebacker Brandon Smith has been named one of five finalists for the Pop Warner College Football Award, which honors a player who stands out on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

A recent academic all-district selection, Smith is involved with multiple community service operations, including a group founded by his wife that provides shoes to children in Honduras and other countries.

Smith, who aims to become a pediatric oncologist, stepped in as Penn State’s starting middle linebacker for three games because of injuries and still plays significant snaps.

Heisman talk picking up for Penn States Saquon Barkley

Penn State ran this graphic promoting Saquon Barkley for national awards on social media on Election Day.

Penn State ran this graphic promoting Saquon Barkley for national awards on social media on Election Day. Penn State Athletics

Heisman talk picking up for Penn States Saquon Barkley

Penn State coach James Franklin is hoping to balance national praise for Saquon Barkley with keeping him — and the offense — focused.

Penn State coach James Franklin is hoping to balance national praise for Saquon Barkley with keeping him — and the offense — focused. Abby Drey | AP photo, Centre Daily Times

By Derek Levarse

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Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse

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