Penn State Transforming To 'Running Back U'

By Barry Leonard on July 5, 2019 at 8:00 am
Ricky Slade - Penn State Nittany Lions
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State has long been known as "Linebacker U," and for great reason. Ham, Lee, Posluszny, Conlan, the names are nearly endless. And while "Linebacker U" is still alive and well, particularly with Micah Parsons, it may be time to brandish Penn State with a new moniker. Based on recent success, and a loaded depth chart, "Running Back U" is a new appropriate title for the Penn State Program. 

Since arriving in Happy Valley, head coach James Franklin has done an excellent job of recruiting some of the top running backs to the program.

Saquon Barkley quickly cemented himself as one of the best backs in school history and is one of the rising stars of the NFL. His replacement, Miles Sanders, was a top recruit in the 2016 class and used a big junior season last year to vault himself into the second round of the NFL Draft. 

Despite the loss of Sanders, the Nittany Lions are loaded at running back heading into the 2019 season. 

Headlining the position in 2019 is sophomore Ricky Slade. The former five-star recruit saw limited action last season but showed flashes of his potential. He finished the year with 45 carries for 257 yards and six touchdowns. Slade has a load of talent and is expected to do big things in 2019 and beyond. 

Speedster Journey Brown and Notre Dame transfer CJ Holmes will also add talent and depth to the backfield. 

Aside from the returning players, Franklin once again flexed his recruiting muscle by inking two of the best running backs in the 2019 class. Four-star Noah Cain has been on campus since January and figures to see ample time this season. Fellow four-star running back Devyn Ford will also be in the mix. 

With the recent success of its running backs and the talent that currently makes up the depth chart, it's safe to say that Penn State is becoming an attractive destination for the best running backs in the nation. 

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