Star Penn State running back declares for NFL draft

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has declared for the NFL draft. (AP photo)

UNIVERSITY PARK — Saquon Barkley, the star Penn State running back who helped lead the Nittany Lions to a victory in the Fiesta Bowl, will skip his senior season and declare for the NFL draft, according to Penn State.

In a tweet Sunday night, Barkley thanked the university.

"God has blessed me with the opportunity to pursue the dream I have had since I was a little kid of playing in the NFL," Barkley added in an Instagram post.

Barkley also addressed the fact that he will not graduate from Penn State, at least not yet.

“I am aware I am coming up short on getting my degree, but I have made a promise to my mom, dad and Coach Franklin that I will continue to pursue my dream of obtaining a Penn State degree," Barkley said.

This announcement capped a monumental season for the college junior, who was named a NCAA Consensus All-American team and won the Paul Hornung Award, which is given to the most versatile player in college football.

Barkley, who ranked No. 2 in all-purpose yards in 2017, also thanked his family Sunday night.

"To my teammates and coaches for the last three years, it has been a blessing to call you guys family. I love you guys so much. To the 107k strong, I will miss you and the amazing support you have shown me and the Penn State Football program. We Are!" Barkley wrote.

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