PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Larry Johnson Talks Saquon Barkley, Life After Football

Legendary Penn State running back Larry Johnson thinks Saquon Barkley will become just the second player in program history to hoist the Heisman Trophy come December.

“I think he’s shown enough,” Johnson said. “He’s doing a lot more than just run the football. To be able to put the ball in his hands and he can create that much production, you have to give him the Heisman, because he doesn’t touch the ball every play. So to me, he should get the Heisman cause he does so much more when he does have it.”

Barkley enters Saturday’s showdown against Indiana as the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards with 1,013. His jaw-dropping performance in Iowa City last weekend helped him pass Johnson for seventh place on Penn State’s career rushing yardage list.

Johnson, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., captured every award a running back could dream of except the Heisman following an epic 2002 senior season that saw him rush for 2,087 yards. An eight-year NFL veteran, Johnson now spends his time facilitating access to art and music programs for the under-resourced youth of South Florida.

Johnson serves as chairman of The Motivational Edge Ambassadors Program, an organization that aims to boost creativity and allow the next generation to express itself through the arts. Johnson reaches out to potential sponsors, connects donors, and makes public appearances to help raise awareness.

On Saturdays, you can bet he has the Penn State game on, though. Johnson is more qualified than most to describe Barkley’s unique ability to make defenders miss in all manner of ways.

“Running backs, we’re like artists. One style’s more like Monet, another style is more like Picasso, so there’s different types of artists. We all have different styles,” Johnson said. “The only advice I could give him would be just to enjoy college, enjoy the moment, enjoy everything.”

Barkley’s now the betting favorite in Vegas to win the Heisman.

If the Nittany Lions are going to make their first College Football Playoff appearance this year, Johnson believes they’re going to need to start a little faster against Big Ten competition.

“I would say, for them to really make it, they have to stop being a second-half team and start putting these teams away,” Johnson said. “When there’s blood in the water, they should start taking these teams down in the first and second quarter. The good teams, automatically out the gate, wanna put you away.”

When news broke last week that Aaron Hernandez had advanced CTE, Johnson tweeted, “If he had it, I know for certain I’m living with it.”

While CTE can’t be diagnosed until after death, it’s a scary thought that more and more former players like Johnson will have to confront this ugly reality in the coming years. He’s not sure what the future holds for the sport he loves.

“I don’t know. Football’s gonna be football. Unless you take the pads off, not much is gonna change,” Johnson said. “Most of us already did our damage when we were 9 years old. All those types of things that we did, we were already traumatically damaged. Even in the league when I was with Dick Vermeil, we were in pads every day in two-a-days.”

On a lighter note, Johnson made sure to throw some shade at his siblings for wearing too much scarlet and gray on game days. When Penn State’s October 28 trip to Columbus rolls around, you can be sure he won’t be repping the Buckeyes.

“My brother and my sister, I swear they graduated from Ohio State. They be wearing Ohio State gear,” Johnson said. “I could never do that. They ride with my dad forever. But me, I’m gonna be blue and white regardless of where I’m at.”

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

Comments

More by Ethan

Nick Scott Evolving Into Seasoned Leader For Penn State

“He’s one of the best athletes on the team, and he and Trace are our best two leaders on the team,” Terry Smith said of safety Nick Scott.

Four-Star Offensive Tackle Anthony Whigan Commits To Penn State

ESPN Ranks Trace McSorley No. 9 Player In College Football

Athletics

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

This year’s sneaker is available to purchase online for $109.99.

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Fall Move-In Traffic & Construction Changes

When 40,000 students need to move back to State College over the course of four days or so, things are bound to get crazy.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend