Saquon Barkley won't be available in the 2017 NFL Draft, but Urban Meyer believes the Penn State running back will be a first-round draft choice, whenever his time comes.
Ohio State plays at PSU on Saturday, and Meyer described both Barkley and the Nittany Lions wide receivers in glowing terms in his Monday news conference.
"It's a first-rounder, (the) tailback, and we believe this is as good a group of receivers as we've faced not just this year, but in a while," Meyer said.
Is it another case of a coach laying a bit too much praise on an upcoming opponent, or is it exactly what is in store for Barkley? It will be at least 2018 before anyone can know for certain. NFL draft rules require prospects to be three years removed from high school to be eligible. As a true sophomore, Barkley won't meet that standard until after next season, at which point he can apply for early eligibility in the 2018 draft if he so chooses.
All Meyer needed to see was Barkley's performance Saturday against Maryland to be highly impressed with the true sophomore. Barkley exploded for 202 yards on 31 carries, both career highs, in a 38-14 win. For the season, Barkley has 582 yards on 117 carries with eight touchdowns.