Saquon Barkley wants to play on special teams in 2016
There might not be a more exciting player in the B1G than Saquon Barkley.
Any given play can turn into a highlight-reel hurdle or a 60-yard touchdown run. To say that he’s valuable to Penn State would be an understatement.
So it might give some PSU fans pause to hear that he wants to participate in the game’s most dangerous play.
Apparently the sophomore tailback has aspirations to take his talents to the return game.
“I went to coach (James) Franklin and asked him about it,” Barkley told the Centre Daily Times about playing special teams. “If it’s running down on kicks or catching kick returns or even blocking, any way I can try to help the team win games, that’s just what I want to do.”
Franklin referenced the impact that Christian McCaffrey made for Stanford in the return game and how Barkley can be that kind of player. McCaffrey, of course, set the single-season record for all-purpose yards and finished runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in his sophomore season at Stanford.
Franklin also said that a decision like that is dependent on depth at certain positions. Is Barkley going to be that much better than PSU’s primary returner to make it worth the risk? And if that’s the case, how deep are the Lions at tailback?
We do know that DeAndre Thompkins showed promise as the punt returner and that the Lions have a trio of options at kick returner. PSU does have the nation’s top 2016 running back recruit, Miles Sanders, to back up Barkley.
We also know that Barkley began PSU’s first practice of fall camp at kick returner with Sanders and Brandon Polk. This obviously isn’t just some fun idea.
Franklin seems pretty serious about it.
Barbir chips a kick with Barkley lined up to return& Franklin screams “KICK….THE BAAAAAAALLLLLL”
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 4, 2016