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National Signing Day 2015: Welcome to Penn State, Saquon Barkley

The do-it-all running back from Whitehall, PA makes things official.

Welcome to Black Shoe Diaries' coverage of National Signing Day 2015. We're here to make sure that you know exactly who the newest Nittany Lions are, where they come from, and what we can expect of them. Each of these reports will include their vital information, their high school statistics, highlight tape analysis, outlook for their freshmen seasons and more. We sincerely hope you enjoy getting to know the stars of tomorrow. If you've been reading along with our recruiting coverage all year, we appreciate the support and are glad you hung around with us for the ride that was the 2015 recruiting class. If you are a new reader, welcome! We're glad you're here, and we hope you stick around for 2016!

To navigate your way to other members of the 2015 recruiting class, simply head back to our draft board and click on the player of your choice.

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Saquon Barkley wouldn't be the first time Penn State fans saw James Franklin flip a Rutgers commit, but he was a huge pickup regardless. As part of the three headed running back monster in Pennsylvania for the 2015 class (along with Penn State commit, Andre Robinson and Notre Dame commit, Josh Adams), he was a must-get for James Franklin's staff. Despite committing to the Scarlet Knights five months prior to National Signing Day for the 2014 class, Franklin didn't have much trouble convincing him to join the team after getting him on campus for a visit.

Stats

Hometown: Whitehall, PA

High School: Whitehall High School

Position: Running Back

Height/Weight: 5'11"/190

247Composite Rank: ★ (0.9420)

Positional Rank: #14 Running Back, #2 Player in Pennsylvania

Commitment Date: February 19, 2014

247 Crystal Ball:

High School Stats

Unfortunately, Maxpreps is really the only viable option for collecting high school career statistics, and it's only as reliable as the school that posts information on it. Unfortunately in the case of Barkley, only his senior year statistics have been entered. It's better than nothing, though!

Grade GP Rushing Yards Yards per Carry Rushing Yards Per Game Rushing TD Receiving TD
Senior 11 1,851 8.6 168.3 24 3

Highlight Tape

Scouting Report

Barkley has some of my favorite film to watch in this entire class. I broke down what I loved about his game extensively back in October, and the same kinds of things I said then hold true now. Barkley is a true, all-around running back. He uses power, speed, shiftiness, patience and balance to get the absolute most out of every run. He shows an uncanny knowledge of when to attack a blocker head on, when to juke to get around him, when to outrun him on the edge, and when to wait for a blocker's help. He is an incredibly gifted high school runner, who should only continue to improve with the help of a college weight training program. He's not one who will dance behind the line and wait for a hole to open up. Rather, he will attack the very first opening he can find and create a big play on his own from there.

No matter what his path on the field, Barkley is always thinking about just moving forward and gaining more yards. He's exactly the kind of running back that the team could have really used this season, as he is one who should be able to perform despite the condition of his offensive line. He won't be able to pull off all of his same high school tricks in college without getting a little bigger and stronger, but he has all the makings of a superstar back if he can. Barkley could very well end up being one of the very best recruits Penn State has had in recent years.

Immediate Outlook

Redshirt No

Despite the massive talent he possesses, Barkley will still be in a dogfight to earn early playing time. Akeel Lynch will be Penn State's starting running back in 2015, that much is all but certain. After that, Johnathan Thomas was touted as the future of the position after an impressive year behind the scenes as a redshirt. Mark Allen was named the scout team play of the week numerous times throughout the season, and although a position change may be in his future, the other 2014 running back recruit, Nick Scott, still remains as well. In his own class, Barkley will have to compete with Andre Robinson, even though the two play with different styles.

Despite all of the obstacles Barkley will face, I think he will be getting carries at a fairly regular rate by the end of the season. I see Barkley blowing the coaches away in preseason practice, and forcing them to get him early action in the non-conference schedule. Although I firmly believe that Lynch and Thomas will be the 1-2 backs for the Lions this year, Barkley should be able to earn four carries a game as a change of pace back, coming in after the powerful Johnathan Thomas. If he is on the active roster, also expect him to get a chance in the return game. He returned both punts and kicks in high school, and showed some impressive abilities in the punt return game especially. Penn State has gone with about as conservative a punt return style as you can have over the years, and a jolt of energy from a guy like Saquon could be a welcomed influence.

Everything Else

Welcome to Penn State, Saquon!