Barkley not a finalist

Saquon Barkley is considered by some to be the best player in college football, but he didn’t put up great statistics this season, and that doomed his Heisman Trophy chances.

Barkley was not selected as one of the finalists for the Heisman, so he was not invited to Saturday’s awards ceremony in New York. The Penn State running back was considered the frontrunner midway through the season but dropped off significantly down the stretch.

The three finalists are Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Bryce Love and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, last year’s winner. Mayfield is the heavy favorite.

Barkley finished the regular season with 1,134 yards rushing, which ranks 33rd in the country. He has 16 rushing TDs and a 5.7-yard average. He caught 47 passes for 594 yards and three scores, plus he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and is second in the nation in all-purpose yards (179.5 per game).

Barkley had a number of highlight-reel plays that wowed fans throughout the season and kept his Heisman hopes alive. But he was held under 100 yards rushing in eight of PSU’s 12 games, so he just didn’t have the overall numbers to impress enough Heisman voters to warrant an invitation to the ceremony.

Barkley was asked after the Lions’ final regular-season game what it would mean to him to be invited to the Heisman ceremony.

“It would be special to get invited,” he said, “but if I didn’t get invited, it’s not going to hurt my feelings or I’m not going to be down or sad about it. … Obviously at one point I guess you could say I probably was the frontrunner, and now you can make the argument other people are the frontrunners for that award.”