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Penn State cleans up on AP's all-Big Ten team

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was named offensive player of the year in the Big Ten, and his coach, James Franklin, was named conference coach of the year Monday by the Associated Press.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was named offensive player of the year in the Big Ten, and his coach, James Franklin, was named conference coach of the year Monday by the Associated Press.

In balloting of 26 writers and broadcasters from the 11 Big Ten states, Barkley also was a unanimous first-team selection on the AP's all-Big Ten team.

Two Penn State players - quarterback Trace McSorley and kicker Tyler Davis - were named to the second team.

Barkley, a sophomore who last week was named offensive player in the Big Ten by the conference, has rushed for 1,302 yards this season and has scored a total of 19 touchdowns. He is second in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards (128.15 per game) and third in rushing average (100.2 yards per game).

In his third season at Penn State, Franklin led the Nittany Lions to an 11-2 record and the Big Ten championship. The Lions have not lost since Sept. 24 and enter the Jan. 2 Rose Bowl against Southern California riding a nine-game winning streak.

McSorley, a redshirt sophomore, leads the Big Ten in touchdown passes with 25 and also is first in the conference in passing efficiency and total offense. Davis, a redshirt junior, has been successful on 22 of 24 field-goal attempts.

Fournette going pro

Leonard Fournette will declare for the NFL draft after LSU's appearance in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Eve.

The Tigers running back made the announcement on social media Tuesday, saying he wanted to avoid the distraction as the team prepares to take on Louisville in Orlando, Fla.

"This has been a very trying season, but I have continued to fight to play to the best of my ability. Each day I study and work and rehab with my coaches, trainers and teammates so that I can return to the field for the bowl game, and help our team bring another victory home"

Fournette's season has been marred by an ankle injury, limiting the superstar back to a career-low in carries (129), rushing yards (843) and rushing touchdowns (8). He played in just seven of LSU's 12 games this season.

He heads into bowl matchup with 3,830 yards rushing in his career.

Heisman finalists

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season, joining Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers, and Oklahoma teammates Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook.

The finalists were announced Monday and the award will be presented Saturday in New York.

Watson finished third in last year's voting, won by Alabama running back Derrick Henry.

Westbrook and Mayfield are the first teammates to be finalists since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart from Southern California finished first and third, respectively in 2005.

Peppers is the first defensive player to be a Heisman finalists since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo was a distant runner-up to Johnny Manziel in 2012.

Watson entered as the preseason favorite, but Jackson quickly swept past them all to be front-runner. He was brilliant for the first two months of the season and Louisville was looking like a College Football Playoff contender.

But the 15th-ranked Cardinals lost their final two games of the season. Jackson was sacked 11 times in a lopsided loss at Houston and he committed four turnovers in a last-second loss against Kentucky.

Purdue hires coach

Jeff Brohm is leaving Western Kentucky to take the head coaching job at Purdue.

The Boilermakers announced the move Monday, calling him "one of the most innovative offensive masterminds in college football." Western Kentucky said Nick Holt would coach the Hilltoppers (10-3) in the Boca Raton Bowl against Memphis on Dec. 20.

Brohm replaces Darrell Hazell, who was fired after winning just nine games in 31/2 seasons.

Brohm, a former Louisville quarterback, went 30-10 in three seasons at Western Kentucky and has led the Hilltoppers to bowl bids in all three seasons.


This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.