Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Countdown To Blue-White: Saquon Barkley Matured As A Leader After Meeting With Dak Prescott

Saquon Barkley has already experienced the role of being Penn State’s breakout performer. He’s also experienced being the team’s face, the star that opponents game plan for most. In 2017, the junior hopes to take on a new role.

Barkley’s goal during this offseason: become the Nittany Lions’ leader.

While he won’t see much time on the field in action during spring ball, the Heisman candidate has plans for how to use his time taking in the game from the sidelines.

“Obviously you want to compete, I’m a competitor,” Barkley said. “But it makes you look at the game differently. You get to see stuff that you wouldn’t see if you were in the game or taking the practice rep. You get to see the field a lot better and it teaches you to be a leader. Not all the time, you’re going to be the one making the play.”

Through two years of crucial experience, learning from veterans in the backfield like Akeel Lynch as well as taking personal moments like fighting through injury, Barkley’s become one of the veterans that players can lean on — no longer just a young star.

He’s aware of that, hoping to take that experience this offseason and push younger players on this team.

“I just try to take the knowledge that I have from the two years I have been playing and not only from myself, but kind of guys who have experience,” Barkley said. “Especially people coming from defense to offense or people who are going through their first spring ball, I try to give them advice and try to teach them what to do on this play or the little things you can do to take a negative and make it a positive.”

Part of being a leader is guiding through actions — something Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton, Marcus Allen, and Mark Allen did with their trip to Florida for training over spring break.

While working out in the gym in Orlando, the four came across Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who just so happened to be there training as well.

“It was really cool to work out with Dak Prescott,” Barkley said. “To see the knowledge he has from the game and what he learned from his first year [in the NFL].”

While it just happened by circumstance, the meeting is all part of this continued transcendence in Barkley’s leadership plans. From a guy that’s been in similar shoes living up to stardom, Barkley took a few things from the Pro Bowler.

“I learned a lot,” Barkley said. “How to be a leader, how to lead a team, how to come to practice every single day, and how to be a pro, pretty much. Obviously I’m still in college, but if you can be a pro about your body and a pro about how you approach practice and how you try be a leader, you just overall become a better player.”

You could say Barkley has been taking care of his body pretty well this offseason with the 5-foot-11 223-lb running back tying Anthony Zettel’s (a man who’s 60 pounds heavier than Barkley) 390-pound power clean team record and recording the team’s fastest 40-yard dash of the spring at 4.33 seconds, which would’ve been fourth fastest overall and fastest of all running backs at this year’s NFL Combine.

As Barkley continues his rise with the Nittany Lions, so does Penn State’s offense. Returning a number of starters from last season, it’s not going to take any particular heroics for Joe Moorhead’s squad to continue to thrive this season.

“The biggest difference from last spring to this spring is the offensive side of the ball.” Barkley said. “We kind of know what we’re doing now. We were installing a new offense last year and you could feel like a lot of people were hesitant. But to this year, it’s something that we’ve been doing the whole season.”

For Barkley’s development, that’s key. Being able to step into a sound offense can only allow him to grow on the field. Off the field, his opportunity to drive this team forward is about to come to life in the run-up to the Blue-White Game for the 2017 season.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

Follow on Another Platform
State College Links
Other posts by Steve

Penn State Softball’s Season Ends With Big Ten Tournament Loss To Indiana

The Hoosiers made the Penn State defense work and used an aggressive third inning to take the lead and move on in the tournament.

Penn State Softball’s Toni Polk And Chelsea Bisi Earn All-Big Ten Selections

Penn State Softball Gears Up For Return To Big Ten Tournament

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

From Food Network To Happy Valley: Chef Gillian Clark Puts A French Spin On The Classic Diner

“Rather than kind of dig up a dinosaur, we thought we would do something a little bit more creative that gave us the ability to make some interesting food that’s a little bit upscale.”

Your Complete THON 2023 Dancer List

From 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 707 students will dance in THON and help raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Send this to a friend