Penn State Football

Former Penn State star Saquon Barkley named Pepsi Rookie of the Year

Former Penn State running back and current New York Giant Saquon Barkley talks with fellow former teammates during the game against Michigan State on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.
Former Penn State running back and current New York Giant Saquon Barkley talks with fellow former teammates during the game against Michigan State on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. adrey@centredaily.com

Saquon Barkley added hardware to his trophy case on Thursday — and he might not be done this week, either.

Barkley, the former Penn State standout, secured Pepsi Rookie of the Year honors. The New York Giants’ do-it-all tailback beat out Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for the award, which is determined by a fan vote.

Thursday’s news bodes well for Barkley entering Saturday night, when the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award is announced. That honor, however, is determined by the Associated Press.

It’s hard to deny the impact Barkley has had in his first year with the Giants. After being selected No. 2 overall in April, behind Mayfield, the Coplay native led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and finished second in rushing yards in the regular season.

The Giants’ record improved from only three wins in 2017 to five this year, while Mayfield guided a late playoff push. Still, Barkley led the Giants in receptions and averaged 5.76 yards per offensive touch.

While some throughout the NFL might have been surprised by Barkley’s swift ascension in the pros, those in Happy Valley surely weren’t stunned. Barkley finished his collegiate career as Penn State’s all-time record holder for rushing touchdowns (43), all-purpose yards (5,538) and receiving yards by a running back (1,157).

Barkley, who played in his first Pro Bowl last weekend, was also voted to PFWA All-Rookie team.

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