Penn State RB Saquon Barkley declares for NFL draft

Dr. Saturday
Penn State running back <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/256698/" data-ylk="slk:Saquon Barkley">Saquon Barkley</a> (26) leaps over Washington defensive back <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/268148/" data-ylk="slk:Myles Bryant">Myles Bryant</a> (5) during the second half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (26) leaps over Washington defensive back Myles Bryant (5) during the second half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Saquon Barkley’s college football career is over.

As expected, the Penn State running back announced Sunday he will forego his senior season and declare for the 2018 NFL draft. Barkley was a consensus All-American this season and finished fourth in Heisman voting.

Barkley finished his collegiate career by rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the Nittany Lions’ Fiesta Bowl win over Washington on Saturday. Barkley ranks second all time in Penn State history with 3,843 rushing yards.

“After lots of thought, prayer and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NFL Draft,” Barkley said in a statement. “I hope I have left a lasting impression on this University, football program and community at large. It has been an honor and privilege to be able to call Penn State home and represent the Blue & White and all of the great players who came before me and will follow after me. I will continue to work each and every day to continue to represent Penn State the right way as I move on to the next phase of my life.”

Farewell Penn State, thank you for everything! #WeAre ⚪️

A post shared by Saquon Barkley (@sb_xxvi) on Dec 31, 2017 at 5:14pm PST

Added Penn State coach James Franklin: “Saquon Barkley is a once in a lifetime type of player and it has been an honor to coach him and watch him grow into a fantastic young man. Saquon has left a legacy both on and off the field that will long be remembered by the Penn State community.”

Barkley rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons with the program and helped the Nittany Lions win 11 games, including the 2016 Big Ten title, in each of the past two seasons. He gained 1,076 yards as a freshman, 1,496 yards as a sophomore and 1,271 yards this season, combining for 43 touchdowns in the process. He also totaled 102 receptions for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns over his three years and returned two kickoffs for a touchdown this season.

Because of his all-around abilities on the field, Barkley is considered to be a high first-round pick in the upcoming draft.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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