Penn State Football

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley sweeps major end-of-year Big Ten awards

The accolades never stop for Saquon Barkley.

Penn State’s running back and generational talent was recognized as such on Thursday morning — being named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Running Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year.

Barkley is the second player in conference history, along with Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers (2016), to win three major awards in a season. Barkley — who claimed back-to-back Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors — is the third player to ever receive the award twice, joining Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (2012, 2013) and Purdue’s Drew Brees (1998, 2000).

The junior is also the first back-to-back winner of the Big Ten Running Back of the Year since Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (2011, 2012).

Barkley is certainly deserving of the recognition.

The Heisman Trophy candidate — and finalist for the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Paul Hornung and Doak Walker Awards — leads the Big Ten in all-purpose yards (2,154), total scoring (21 touchdowns, 126 points), rushing touchdowns (16) and kickoff return yards per attempt (28.4). His six conference player of the week honors (four offensive, two special teams) are the most in Big Ten history.

On Wednesday, Barkley was named a Big Ten first-team selection for the second consecutive year. Curtis Enis is the only other Penn State running back to achieve that feat.

Barkley was the only Nittany Lion to receive an individual award. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett was named Big Ten Quarterback of the Year over Trace McSorley, while Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli earned Big Ten Tight End of the Year over Mike Gesicki.

John McGonigal: 814-231-4630, @jmcgonigal9