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Guice and Barkley set to steal the show in 2017

A video emerged recently of LSU running back Derrius Guice squatting 650 pounds, wowing the football world all over social video; a running back being able to squat what a lineman might max out at. Not a week later another video emerged, this one was of Penn State running back Saquan Barkley cleaning 415 pounds, again gaining all kinds of attention all over social media. Watching these videos, it is impossible not to wonder what these two running backs are going to be doing this every Saturday afternoon, week after week, attempting to outdo one another in spectacular fashion.

Saquan Barkley is set to steal the show as the biggest offensive star in college football in 2017.

Barkley, a make-you-miss type of back, there are probably a dozen videos of him hurdling over defensive backs and linebackers like it’s just a casual Saturday for him. Watching his athleticism and his tape, one might be reminded of Ezekiel Elliott when he was at Ohio State. His acceleration and ability to hit the smallest holes and turn them into a big play is remarkable. Barkley rushed for over 1,400 yards, 18 touchdowns on over five yards a carry over the course of the 2016 season. There were times where he was good; then there were times where he was unstoppable, averaging over seven yards a carry five times. One of those times came against USC in the Rose Bowl, which some people would call the game of the year. Barkley chose the right time to shine, having 194 yards, two rushing touchdowns, five catches and a receiving touchdown on top of that. His ability to catch the ball coming out of the back field is another one of Barkley’s plethora of quality game traits, having 48 receptions, over 500 yards and five touchdowns in 2016. Something Guice hasn’t done.

If you can remember last season, you’ll recall Leonard Fournette going down with an ankle injury. You’ll also remember LSU fans everywhere being filled with panic because their Heisman hopeful running back wasn’t 100-percent. That panic didn’t last very long, as Guice soothed that panic right away when he rushed for over 150 yards against Jacksonville State. A stat he would register five times over the 2016 season.

Derrius Guice broke out last year while spelling Leonard Fournette. With the full workload now, it’s his time to shine.

Like Barkley, Guice can make you miss, but his ability at running thru defenders and breaking tackles is far more superior. Guice might’ve trailed Barkley in both yards and touchdowns, but it’s important to note that Barkley did it having nearly 100 more carries. Guice only trailed Barkley by 109 yards and three touchdowns, with Barkley getting all of the workload. Barkley might have averaged seven yards a carry in five games, Guice averaged over seven yards a carry for the season. Guice did more, with less.

When looking at these two running backs, it’s important to look at the conferences they play in, as well. The SEC has long been known as the toughest conference to play in for last decade or more, having the majority of the NFL talent. If Guice can keep the pace next season as he did in 2016, it should be pretty easy to see him sitting next to Barkley at the Heisman Trophy presentation in December.

That should also likely land both of them in the Green Room come next spring when they are at the NFL Draft. They are the elite talents and this year should further show why.

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Cory Hughes

Growing up in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, Cory grew up with a love of football. But believe it or not, it did not start because of Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. It started with guys like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs. He's probably the only person in the New England area that doesn't have a Tom Brady jersey in his closet. As an adolescent Cory played every sport that was available to him. He was the starting Defensive End on his Pop Warner A Team and had with sacks. Cory was also the starting center for his middle school basketball team that won a league championship with an undefeated season. However, after not growing more than two inches in high school, he decided to drop basketball and pick up wrestling. His sophomore year while wrestling, MMA started to grow and the big fight everybody was talking about was Quentin 'Rampage' Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell. Watching Jackson's slams, he was hooked to MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not long after he started training in that as well. In just over two years he got his blue belt in martial arts. So it's a great mix of sports that he loves and that eventually sparked his interest in sports journalism.

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