SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Saquon Barkley didn't go to Atlanta for the college football awards show just to get his face on television and hobnob with sports celebrities. He also did some scouting work on Washington, Penn State's opponent in Saturday's Fiesta Bowl.
Barkley, who was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, the Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, spoke at the show with Stanford running back Bryce Love about the Huskies. Love, the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting, rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns in his team's win over Washington on Nov. 10.
"I just asked him about how he attacked the defense," Barkley said Tuesday. "What was his mind-set? Was it more speed? Was it more power? And if you watch the game, he used a lot more speed. He had a really good game, had success against that defense.
"So I wouldn't say it was advice but he did give me some tips and some things to help me come into this game that I'll definitely pass on to the running backs."
The Huskies enter the bowl with the nation's No. 1 rushing defense (92.3 yards per game) and the No. 5 defense in total yards allowed (277.4 per game).
The Fiesta Bowl is expected to be Barkley's last game in a Penn State uniform since he is considered a top-five pick by most NFL draft observers. But Barkley admitted he faces a "tough decision" on whether to declare for the draft or return for his senior season.
"I don't have a set date," Barkley told the Allentown Morning Call. "It could be the day after [the Fiesta Bowl]. It could be two days after. It could be two weeks after. Whenever I feel comfortable I've made the right decision, that's when I will announce it."
Though he didn't win any of the three awards for which he was a finalist in Atlanta, Barkley has collected a number of honors and awards since the Nittany Lions played their last football game on Nov. 25.
The 230-pound junior tailback won the Paul Hornung Award given to college football's most versatile player. He earned consensus all-American honors by receiving first-team honors from the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Foundation.
He won a number of accolades from the Big Ten, including offensive player of the year, running back of the year and return specialist of the year. He captured the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football as the conference's best player for the second straight season. He also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
Charles, Bowen gone
The Nittany Lions announced Tuesday that wide receiver Irv Charles, a redshirt sophomore from Paul VI High School, and junior linebacker Manny Bowen have been dismissed from the team.
"Manny Bowen and Irvin Charles are no longer members of the Penn State football team due to a violation of team rules," the football program said in a statement. "We appreciate their contributions to the program and wish them success in the future."
Charles, who was suspended for the Nebraska game on Nov. 18 but returned the following week against Maryland, was a standout on special teams but did not make an impact as a receiver, catching just one pass for 4 yards. The Sicklerville, N.J., native's career highlight was an 80-yard touchdown catch in a 2016 win over Minnesota.
Bowen was the Lions' third-leading tackler before head coach James Franklin suspended him for the team's final three regular-season games.