UNIVERSITY PARK– Junior running back Saquon Barkley was unanimously selected to the NCAA Consensus All-America team, becoming the 42nd student-athlete in program history to earn the honor. Barkley is also the 14th player to be a unanimous selection.
Barkley garnered first-team All-America honors from five outlets that comprise the NCAA Consensus All-America team: Walter Camp (running back); Associated Press (all-purpose); Football Writers Association of America (all-purpose); Sporting News (athlete); and American Football Coaches Association (running back).
Barkley has already collected several honors this season, winning the Paul Hornung Award for college football’s most versatile player and dominating the Big Ten major awards, winning 2017 Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, 2017 Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year and 2017 Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year – as well as winning the Chicago Tribune Silver Football for the second-straight year for the conference’s best player.
The Whitehall High School graduate also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and became the 100th first-team All-American in Penn State history. He was also a finalist for three other national awards – Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
— Times Leader
Drug charges dropped against Georgia LB
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A marijuana possession charge against Georgia starting inside linebacker Natrez Patrick was dismissed Thursday, apparently clearing the way for him to play in the Rose Bowl semifinal game.
Coach Kirby Smart has not commented on Patrick’s status for the Jan. 1 contest against Oklahoma.
The Athens Banner-Herald reported that the misdemeanor charge against Patrick was dropped, according to Barrow County probate court clerk Meredith Owens. Backup receiver Jayson Stanley negotiated an agreement to plead guilty to possession of marijuana of less than an ounce and speeding, while a DUI drug charge was dismissed.
Patrick was facing dismissal from the team under Georgia athletic rules for a third violation of the drug and alcohol policy.
Stanley is facing a mandatory one-game suspension as a first-time marijuana offender.
The two were arrested during a traffic stop just hours after No. 3 Georgia’s 28-7 victory over Auburn in the Southeastern Conference championship game. A video of the incident showed Stanley acknowledging the marijuana was his and pleading with officers not to charge Patrick.
Patrick’s attorney, Billy Healen, told the Banner-Herald that Patrick was awaiting word on his status with the football team.
Oregon’s Freeman won’t play in bowl game
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman won’t play in the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State on Saturday.
New Oregon coach Mario Cristobal announced the decision Thursday.
Oregon’s all-time leading rusher had practiced earlier this week in Las Vegas, leading to speculation he may play.
“This is hard for him. This is not an easy decision for a guy who’s invested his heart and soul in this program,” Cristobal said.
The Ducks coach did not say whether fellow senior Tyrell Crosby would play.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and LSU running back Leonard Fournette both sat out bowl games to avoid injury as they prepared for the NFL draft.
Freeman, who could be taken in the early rounds of the 2018 draft, set the Pac-12 record with 60 career rushing touchdowns, surpassing Oregon State’s Ken Simonton, who ran for 59 from 1998-01.
He holds Oregon career records for rushing yards (5,621), rushing touchdowns (60), total touchdowns (64) and 100-yard rushing games (31).
West Virginia RB Crawford to skip bowl
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia running back Justin Crawford will skip the Mountaineers’ bowl game to focus on preparing for the 2018 NFL Draft.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen made the announcement Thursday night in a statement.
Crawford was the third-leading rusher in the Big 12 this year with 1,061 yards and seven touchdowns and finished with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. The senior was named to the all-Big 12 second team both times.
West Virginia (7-5) plays Utah (6-6) on Dec. 26 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Florida State hires tight ends coach
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Telly Lockette has been hired to coach tight ends at Florida State, making him the first addition to Willie Taggart’s staff.
Lockette, who was the running backs coach at Oregon State the last three seasons, has worked with Taggart before. Lockette was the running backs coach at South Florida under Taggart in 2013-14.
Before that, Lockette was the head coach at Miami Central High School from 2008-12. It was there that he coached Dalvin Cook, who is Florida State’s career rushing leader, and former Seminoles standout Devonta Freeman. Cook plays for the Minnesota Vikings and Freeman is a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Atlanta Falcons.
Taggart is expected to bring over some of his staff from Oregon, but not until after the Ducks’ Las Vegas Bowl game on Saturday against Boise State.