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Just in case you missed it last weekend, our beloved Saquon Barkley cleaned house. He may not have been in the big game on Super Bowl Sunday, but his familiar smile took center stage, at least among us that breath blue and white, as he picked up any and every award an NFL rookie could…and then some. The newly crowned King of New York and Nittany Lion legend, by way of Whitehall, PA, won The Pepsi Rookie of the Year, AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the FedEx Ground Player of the Year awards after smashing numerous records and becoming only the third rookie in NFL history to log over 2000 total yards from scrimmage.

As if that wasn’t a strong enough exclamation point to put a nice little bow on one of the greatest rookie campaigns of all time, #26 helped awaken sleepy-eyed viewers during an otherwise boring SB LIII, by taking a pitch from none other than Nittany Lion and NFL legend, Franco Harris, after he recreated the infamous ‘Immaculate Reception.’ Our beloved Saquon put in some fancy footwork tip-toeing across a table and ending this year’s best commercial touting the upcoming 100thSeason of the NFL, by giving his trademark leap over a diving defender and running into the future. All this in a tux and flashy red shoes mind you. If there was any doubt left that Mr. Barkley is the new face of the league, please put it to rest right now. The Heisman may have eluded him a year ago, but all the hardware belongs on the Barkley mantle from here on out.

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Speaking of Penn State, Barkley’s former partner in crime in the Nittany Lion backfield was hard at work changing people’s perception as Trace McSorley, a.k.a. the ‘Ultimate Warrior,’ sets his sights on a shot at the NFL with the upcoming draft in April. He’s already got a major ally in Saquon, but on Friday night, #9 stole the spotlight as he took on the so-called upper echelon of college QBs and smoked the competition in the accuracy drill of the State Farm Skills Challenge. It may just be a small step in proving all the doubters wrong but it’s a step in the right direction. All bias aside (and trust me I’ve got plenty for Trace) in the few times I’ve seen him since he last wore our iconic jersey for the final time back on New Year’s Day, McSorley has had the look of a natural born leader. Maybe his arm is not as strong as some. Maybe his size could be detrimental as 6′ 5” junkyard dogs with Olympic speed crash down around him. But, there is no mistaking he has what it takes to make whatever team that decides make the leap of faith, better.

The man that brought them all together, James FrankLion, had a birthday on Saturday and celebrated in style. As if not to be outdone by his star players of playoff runs past, one-by-one the ‘We Are…Better’ tweets came rolling in as CJF and Co. hosted Junior Day a few days before the final Signing Day of the 2019 Class. There were three all told that chose to commit to Penn State (all 4 stars for what it’s worth) and word is we have a few more surprises on the way that might just be enough to leap frog Michigan in the Big Ten ranks and slay the giant that has been the Buckeyes for the past decade or so. Now, if that doesn’t pull us back off the ledge from all the recent transfer portal drama, I don’t know what will. Then again, we’ll always have King ‘Quon and all his hardware to keep us grounded and Penn State proud!

 

 

Eric Herrold was born in State College and has bled Penn State Blue and White ever since. He is currently the proud owner/coordinator of the rapidly growing Facebook fanpage Nittany Nation, as well as a member of Success With Honor, the non-profit charitable organization. Eric currently resides in Richmond, Virginia spreading Penn State cheer and goodwill to all that will listen!

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