Penn State head coach James Franklin’s job is being made easier by a player who is no longer on his roster: running back Saquon Barkley, who is returning for his third season with the New York Giants.
Franklin continues to benefit from Barkley’s aura and dedication three years after saying goodbye to him at State College.
“Nothing surprises me with that guy,” Franklin told Giants.com. “He’s a mutant. That guy can do whatever he wants to do. I’m not surprised at all. He just continues to do great things. He was actually on our team conference call (last month). We had a team meeting … and he came on our team meeting and just once again, did a phenomenal job. We have a couple new staff members and a couple freshman football players, and they were just blown away by him.
“He obviously continues to do a great job in those types of settings, talking about the best programs that he’s been around, the best teams he’s been around, the most successful individuals he’s been around, what makes them special, what are the common denominators. He was awesome.
“He continues to be someone we’re so proud of and always will be.”
Franklin is obviously a big fan of Barkley’s and sees his 2019 campaign, where Barkley was hobbled by a high ankle sprain, as a minor setback. He reiterated what most Giant fans and followers of the NFL already know — that Barkley is a special player.
“I think Saquon is going to have a huge year for you guys this year. I was really happy watching the draft, I saw you guys picked up an offensive lineman and some guys, so that’s going to help your quarterback, that’s going to help Saquon and it’s going to help the whole team and the whole organization,” Franklin said.
Expectations for Barkley are understandably high as he enters season No. 3.