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James Franklin Pitches Saquon Barkley As No. 1 Overall Prospect On College GameDay

Saquon Barkley was not the only Nittany Lion in Texas for the beginning of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Penn State head coach James Franklin made the trip down to AT&T Stadium in Arlington to appear on College GameDay ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent his five-minute segment on the show explaining why Saquon Barkley is the top prospect available in this year’s draft class.

The College GameDay crew asked Franklin a question that they probably knew the answer to prior: Is Saquon Barkley the best prospect in this draft class? In the most shocking┬áturn of events´╗┐, Franklin said yes, calling his star back a bigger version of NFL legend Marshall Faulk.

One interesting point that Franklin brought up was the lack of concerns surrounding his star back. Character and personality concerns have swarmed other top-five prospects like Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield throughout the offseason, and Wyoming QB Josh Allen has seen racially insensitive tweets he sent out as a high schooler surface as draft day has progressed.

In addition to Barkley’s lack of character concerns, Franklin noted the lack of concerns about No. 26’s play on the field. While Sam Darnold’s turnover troubles and other quarterbacks’ stats have raised concerns, Penn State’s fearless leader noted that there have been no on-field concerns surrounding Barkley’s game throughout the offseason or his collegiate career.

ESPN anchor Rece Davis brought up the fact that Saquon Barkley’s father, Alibay, has a New York Jets tattoo. Penn State’s head coach surprised the GameDay crew and thousands of Penn State fans with his response by showing off his knowledge of Mrs. Barkley’s ink game.

“His mom’s got a Browns tattoo,” Franklin joked, getting plenty of laughter out of the GameDay crew.

Prior to Franklin’s interview, ESPN aired a short segment featuring several of Barkley’s former teammates, opponents, and opposing coaches discussing what made No. 26 so good. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh praised Barkley’s heart and effort, and Maryland head coach DJ Durkin called him “dynamic and powerful.”

Indiana defensive back Rashard Fant called him a “monster” and fawned over the many clips of Barkley dominating in the weight room.

Earlier in the day, Franklin appeared on the NFL Network as part of its pre-draft coverage and offered a similar pitch. Although his main responsibility as Penn State football’s head coach is to win games, Franklin said he takes lots of pride in seeing Barkley be able to chase his dream to play in the NFL, especially after first meeting him when he was just a Rutgers commit in 2014.

We’re just hours away from the start of the NFL Draft’s first round. Coverage of Saquon Barkley’s arrival in the NFL will kick off at 8 p.m. on ESPN, Fox, and the NFL Network.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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