James Franklin has said time and time again that the Nittany Lions’ focus is on accomplishing team success; individual recognition and awards are not a concern of his.
That apparently includes the Heisman Trophy — an award that two Nittany Lions are serious contenders for.
According to Bovada, Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley have the second- and 16th-best odds to win the Heisman, respectively.
When asked about a possible Heisman campaign for Barkley, Franklin didn’t exactly reveal a grand plan.
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“We have a marketing department that will do those types of things,” Franklin said, “but you know, for us, and I know for Saquon, we just want to put our team in the best position to be successful, and the best way of doing that is putting your best players in the best position to be successful. So I really think, you know, one situation will take care of the other.”
Saquon the returner
Barkley returned only three kickoffs last season: one against Pitt for 17 yards and two in the Rose Bowl for a combined 57 yards.
Could the star running back see an uptick in that number this season? Barkley is listed on Penn State’s first official depth chart as its No. 3 kickoff returner, but don’t expect to see him back there unless it’s absolutely necessary.
“I think there’s definitely situations that we plan on using Saquon,” Franklin said.
Still, backup running back Miles Sanders is Penn State’s primary returner. Behind Sanders is speedy wideout Brandon Polk, who missed most of last season to injury.
Sanders handled 33 of 49 kickoffs in 2016, averaging 20.8 yards per attempt.
“They like to put my name with ‘E’ and his name with an ‘A’ a lot of the times. I remember a couple times some people even walked up to me and are like, ‘Oh, you’re from Huntsville, Ala., we heard about you. And I’m like, no, that’s the other Cothren. Appreciate the attempt.’” — defensive tackle Curtis Cothran, on people confusing him with fellow lineman Parker Cothren