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Greg Pickel: Saquon Barkley wins an ESPY; Micah Parsons is a top-10 linebacker, Yetur Gross-Matos called nation's No. 69 player, and more

The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa. — Greg Pickel The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.

July 11--Today's Penn State football news features yet another award for former Lion Saquon Barkley and good news for Micah Parsons and Yetur Gross-Matos.

Barkley, the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection, received an ESPY Award on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The New York Giant was named the breakthrough athlete of the year after he took the professional level by storm following his standout career with the Lions.

In other news, USA Today ranked college football's top linebackers entering the 2019 season, and Penn State sophomore Micah Parsons came in at No. 9 in the nation after a terrific freshman season in which he led the team in tackles despite starting just one game.

"In terms of pure physical gifts, Parsons is on another level," USA Today says. "He flashed this athleticism in spurts as a true freshman; if not quite up to speed from a mental perspective -- not surprising nor disappointing given his youth -- Parsons made individual plays that speak to a skill set unmatched in the Big Ten.

"It's just a matter of time before it all comes together. When it does, Parsons will be borderline unstoppable."

Elsewhere, Sports Illustrated started its top-100 player countdown this week, and Lions end Yetur Gross-Matos, who recorded 8.5 sacks as a sophomore, came in at No. 69. He is already being included in 2020 NFL mock drafts as a potential first-round selection should he choose to leave school early following the upcoming season.

"Last year Gross-Matos became the 11th player in Penn State history to record 20 tackles for loss in a single season; only eight players in the FBS had more," SI notes.

"He is quick, explosive and strong enough to bear the playmaking expectations for a Penn State defense short on superstars."

Lions247 has photos as a number of Nittany Lions took part in the 'Kids Day' during the State College Arts Fest on Wednesday, and sports books have opened Penn State with 9-to-1 odds to win the Big Ten this year.

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