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PSU in the NFL

Penn Staters Parsons, Barkley Honored by PFWA

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Micah Parsons

Former Penn State players Micah Parsons and Saquon Barkley have both been recognized, with Parsons being named to the All-NFL team and Barkley being named to the All-NFC squad by the Pro Football Writers Association.

Both players had disappointing weekends in the NFL playoffs. Barkley’s Giants took a beating from the Philadelphia Eagles 38-7 in Philly Saturday night.

Sunday, Parsons’s Cowboys lost a close one to the 49ers in San Francisco 19-12.

Despite the disappointing endings, both players had outstanding seasons. After missing almost all of 2020 due to injury and putting up unimpressive numbers last season, Barkley bounced back in a big way, finishing fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,312 yards and averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Barkley also ran for 10 touchdowns, which was one off his career-best.

Parsons followed up a monster rookie year by continuing to be one of the NFL’s best players. He ended 2022 with 13.5 sacks, good for seventh in the league, 65 tackles (42 solo) and three forced fumbles. Parsons finished second to TJ Watt in the Defensive Player of the Year voting as a rookie last season and is again one of the frontrunners.

Barkley and Parsons were both first-round picks after stellar careers at Penn State. Barkley went second overall to the Giants in 2018, and Parsons went 12th overall to the Cowboys three years later.

Barkley was a central figure in Penn State’s most recent Big Ten championship season. In 2016, he ran for 1,496 yards (5.5 YPC) and 18 touchdowns, helping Penn State to an 11-2 record and Rose Bowl berth. After the 2017 season, Barkley moved on to the NFL, and Parsons started what ended up being a relatively brief Penn State career.

Parsons played at Penn State for just two seasons, forgoing the 2020 COVID-themed campaign to focus on the NFL Draft. Parsons became a regular starter at Penn State in 2019 and a consensus All-American.

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