James Franklin: Saquon Barkley ‘best player I’ve ever been around,’ including NFL players

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley

Penn State head coach James Franklin lofted some pretty high praise in the direction of running back Saquon Barkley, who’s been phenomenal this year.

Franklin has been a coach at the collegiate level since 1995. He also was the wide receiver coach for the Green Bay Packers in 2005. That was back when Brett Favre was still slinging the pigskin around, so this compliment towards Barkley isn’t to be taken lightly.

It’s also not a frivolous statement. Barkley is, in this scribe’s estimation, the best player in the nation this year.

First, let’s just throw out the raw numbers: 243.6 all-purpose yards per game. To put this into perspective, Christian McCaffrey averaged 276.0 yards during the 2015 season, which was a record-setting season for him.

Then you have to look at how Barkley is getting the job done. It’s spectacular. He has made defenders look like children too many times to count, leaping over them, bolting past them like they were standing still, taking a kickoff 98 yards for a score and even throwing a touchdown pass this past weekend.

Right now, we’d give Saquon Barkley the Heisman if the season ended today. NFL scouts are drooling over this young man, who is rated higher than Ezekiel Elliott by some.

So all that to say, we’re with you, coach. Barkley is certainly a freak among freaks. He’s the biggest reason the Nittany Lions have a chance to contend for a national championship this year. And if he stays healthy, we cannot wait to see this freak show in the coming years at the next level.