It looks as though Penn State has the nation’s top running back and tight end heading into the 2017 season. Junior Saquon Barkley was named as a first-team All-American, where he shares the backfield with LSU’s Derrius Guice. Additionally, senior Mike Gesicki was selected as the first-team All-American at tight end.
There were no Nittany Lions named to the second-team All-American list, although safety Marcus Allen and kicker Tyler Davis are among many who will make it their mission to appear on the post-season teams.
Barkley and Gesicki were both named as preseason candidates for a plethora of awards, with Barkley appearing near the top of most Heisman watch lists. Barkley is looking to become Penn State’s all-time leading rusher in his third year of eligibility, and is coming off a brilliant season where he accounted for 1,898 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns. While he produced several memorable moments throughout the season, he became firmly entrenched in the national consciousness following an incredible Rose Bowl performance, that included perhaps the best run of the college season.
Gesicki is coming off the best single-season for a tight end in Penn State history, snatching 48 passes for 679 yards and five touchdowns. Like Barkley, he was a regular on the highlight reels after using his unreal combination of size and athleticism to make several circus catches throughout the season. He now returns for his senior season, likely as the most dangerous tight end in the nation.
Congratulations to Mike and Saquon!