Big Ten Snubs Saquon Barkley For Freshman Of The Year Honor

Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers is one of the top young players in the country, regardless of position. He’s a generational talent reminiscent of the great Charles Woodson, even flashing the ability to play both ways — a trait that helped Woodson earn himself the Heisman Trophy in 1997.

Despite boasting a unique skill set with eye-popping statistics to boot, it just feels odd to name Peppers the Big Ten Freshman of the Year when the more deserving candidate just enjoyed a record setting season in Happy Valley.

In the eyes of the NCAA, Peppers is a freshman. In reality, he’s a 20-year old redshirt freshman who retained his freshman status thanks to the medical redshirt he was granted after getting injured early on in Michigan’s 2014 campaign. Again, it’s not to say Peppers isn’t deserving, but if you’re going to honor the best freshman in the Big Ten, it makes sense to award the player who just came off his first season of college football — not the player who played in three games and started one a year ago.

Saquon Barkley finished his debut season with 1,007 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, and 6.1 yards per carry (a figure that tied him with Alabama’s Derrick Henry and Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine). What makes Barkley’s season even more impressive is that he gained 1,006 of those yards in nine total games after gaining just a single yard in the season opener against Temple, while also missing two games altogether after battling a lower leg injury.

The two young men were as professional as can be about the announcement, sharing love via Twitter. Despite his stellar college debut, one can’t help but feel for the kid, knowing that all those jaw-dropping performances should’ve resulted in Big Ten accolades. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop didn’t hide his opinions, and he let his followers know who the real Big Ten Freshman of the Year is.

Again, Jabrill Peppers is a transcendent player, but when the term “freshman” comes to mind, you certainly don’t associate it with a player who’s already faced stiff Division I competition. Nothing should take away from what Barkley was able to accomplish this season, and if he can build off of his astounding freshman campaign, Barkley has Heisman written all over him.

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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