NFL Insider Hands Saquon Barkley Top Award

Saquon Barkley
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants celebrates after his team's 21-20 victory against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Saquon Barkley is back, and better than ever.

The New York Giants star running back, and former Penn State Football standout was instrumental in New York getting past the Minnesota Vikings and into the NFC Divisional Round, on the heels of one of the more impressive seasons of his career.

Barkley, two years removed from a torn ACL, and a year out from battling through nagging injuries in 2021, was unleashed by new Giants head coach Brian Daboll and staff this season following a concerted effort to get him involved in the offense in space.

Finishing the season as the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher, and ninth in the league in rushing touchdowns, Barkley returned to peak form in the final year of his rookie contract.

With the 2022 NFL regular season in the record books, Heavy Sports’ Senior NFL Insider Matt Lombardo named Barkley his choice for NFL Comeback Player of The Year:

This is the player the Giants hoped they were getting when they chose Barkley No. 2 overall, out of Penn State, in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now two years removed from a torn ACL, Barkley rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards with 10 touchdowns, and was as dangerous as ever as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, hauling in 57 passes for 338 yards. The Giants made a conscious effort all season to utilize Barkley in space, and were rewarded.

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Through the first five seasons of his career, Barkley has averaged 4.5 Yards Per Attempt, while rushing for 4,249 yards with 29 touchdowns in 60 games.

However, Barkley shows no signs of slowing up.

Against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Round, Barkley rattled off a 28-yard rushing score to set the tone for the Giants offense, and finished the day producing 109 total yards from scrimmage and scoring two rushing touchdowns.

“Every time he has the ball in space, we know he’s going to make a play,” Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas said. “The defenses are not happy when he’s out there with those opportunities.”

Barkley has certainly made the most of his opportunities, this season.

Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley is a Penn State Football legend, commemorate his Nittany Lions career with this framed print.
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Joe Staszak
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Joe Staszak

A proud graduate of Villanova University, Staszak’s first gig in the industry was with PRISM sports in 1989, covering the four local home teams, the Flyers, 76ers and Phillies while also covering the Randall Cunningham-led Philadelphia Eagles. It was at PRISM where Staszak produced live games and began his career as an on-air reporter. After a couple of brief stints with CBS-3, WB-17 and WGAL-8 in Lancaster, PA, Staszak began a 12 year stretch at FOX 29 where he became the lead sportscaster in 2007. It was there that Staszak found himself in the middle of Philadelphia Phillies World Series Championship coverage that earned him an Emmy nomination for best sports reporter in 2008. It was one of five Emmy nominations that Staszak earned over the course of his career. All told Staszak covered three World Series, two Stanley Cup Finals, an NBA Finals and one Super Bowl during his television run. Staszak left the TV business for 97.5 The Fanatic in 2013, where he enjoyed eight years bloviating his beliefs on how a professional football team should be run. In 2018 when he fortunate enough to be the first sports talk host in the city, along with cohort Zach Gelb, to provide post-game coverage of the first Super Bowl Championship for the city’s beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Staszak was also a writer for 97.5 The Fanatic along with 4 Philly Sports and now covers Penn State athletics for NittanyCentral.com.