Starting running back Miles Sanders, a former five-star recruit who took over for Saquon Barkley in 2018, will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Everything 1K pic.twitter.com/k67nDaUo5A
— Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) January 3, 2019
While it is not surprising news, it was not a lock either. Sanders had a good 2018 season, but did not blow the doors off of the competition either. Another year at Penn State was not out of the question until Sanders' announcement.
The Pittsburgh native first came to Penn State in 2016 as one of its highest rated recruits ever. He saw the field right away, working his way into the rotation behind Barkley, who at the time was establishing himself as one of the greatest running backs in college football history. During his two seasons behind Barkley, Sanders flashed immense talent.
Despite the pressure of following up a generational talent at running back, Sanders stepped in and made an impact. He started all 13 games, rushing 220 times for 1,274 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and 9 touchdowns. Along with quarterback Trace McSorley, they formed one of the most formidable rushing backfields in the nation.
Penn State's running back room will certainly look different in 2019. The departure of Sanders is in addition to the end of eligibility for Mark Allen and Johnathan Thomas. The oldest member of the running back group is redshirt sopohmore Journey Brown. True sophomore Ricky Slade is the favorite to start the 2019 season in the backfield, while true freshmen Devyn Ford and Noah Cain are likely to see game action right away as well.