Barkley repeats as Big Ten Offensive POY; Huff following to MSU

ASSOCIATED PRESS Saquon Barkley could be a Heisman Trophy finalist.

From staff and wire reports

Saquon Barkley racked up some prestigious Big Ten awards Thursday, the same day news broke that Penn State’s running backs will have a new position coach next season.

Barkley was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He also was selected the league’s top running back and return specialist.

Barkley ranks first in the conference and second nationally with an average of 179.5 all-purpose yards per game. Jewell was the only player in the Big Ten to average better than 10 tackles a game.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who averaged a Big Ten-leading 150 yards per game, is freshman of the year. Wisconsinás Paul Chryst, whose Badgers are unbeaten and No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, is coach of the year.

Award winners are chosen by a vote of coaches and a media panel. The Associated Press All-Big Ten teams and specialty awards, selected by writers and broadcasters who cover the league, will be announced Wednesday.

While Barkley’s award was no surprise, there was one for the Nittany Lions.

PSU running backs coach and special teams coordinator Charles Huff will be leaving the program to join Joe Moorhead’s staff at Mississippi State, according to published reports.

Huff reportedly will be assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach under Moorhead, who will run the offense and call the plays for the Bulldogs to go along with head coaching duties.

Huff came to Penn State from Vanderbilt along with James Franklin and did strong work with the running backs. There were many struggles on special teams his first couple of years, but Franklin stuck with him in the coordinator role, and the units developed into big weapons the past two seasons.

Huff is highly regarded as a recruiter, so his efforts there could be heavily missed by the Nittany Lions.

With Moorhead and Huff leaving, Franklin now must replace two of his three coordinators.

The NCAA will allow teams to add a 10th assistant coach next season, so Franklin will be looking to hire three new coaches.

Barkley is the third player to be named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year multiple times, joining Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (2012 and ’13) and Purdue quarterback Drew Brees (1998, 2000).

Barkley is just the second Big Ten player to win three major conference awards in the same season, joining Michi­gan’s Jabrill Peppers last year (Defensive Player, Line­backer, Return Specialist).

Barkley now will wait and see if he’s invited to next week’s Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York. He was the frontrunner for the award midway through the season before seeing his chances drop late.