Saquon Barkley has played his final down at Penn State.
Barkley on Sunday night officially declared for the NFL draft, forgoing his senior season.
In the Instagram post, Barkley wrote:
"I would like to start off by saying thank you so much for all of the memories that you have helped create over the last three years, whether it be on the football field, in school or in the community," Barkley said in a statement. "I am forever grateful to you for making my time here so enjoyable. You have been amazing to me through the ups and downs of my career and you will always have a special place in my heard.
“With that being said, 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. I would like to thank God, my family, especially my mom, dad, brothers and sisters, my coaches and teammates, the athletic training and performance enhancements staffs at Penn State, my support system from Whitehall and the Penn State fans who have helped me be in position to have a decision like this. After lots of thought, prayer and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NFL Draft."
The 5-foot-11, 230-pound running back was a Heisman Trophy frontrunner for most of the 2017 season, though he didn't finish as a finalist. Barkley finished with 1,271 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns on 217 carries. He added 632 more yards in the receiving game, along with three TDs, and 426 yards in the return game. Barkley was a threat to score no matter how PSU got him the ball.
In No. 9 Penn State's 35-28 win over No. 11 Washington in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Barkley ran for 137 yards on 18 carries and caught seven balls for 38 yards.
Barkley became the 14th player ever to be unanimously selected to the NCAA All-American team. He also won the Paul Hornung Award (college football's most versatile player) and took home the Big Ten's offensive player of the year, running back of the year and return specialist of the year.
"Saquon Barkley is a once in a lifetime type of player and it has been an honor to coach him and watch him grow into a fantastic young man," Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a statement.
“Saquon has left a legacy both on and off the field that will long be remembered by the Penn State community. Saquon knows he has some unfinished business in the classroom. Knowing how much it means to him, I have the utmost confidence that he will follow through on his promise and the plan that we have discussed to earn his Penn State degree. As good of a player as he is, he is an even better person and I look forward to watching him achieve his dream of playing in the NFL."
Barkley is projected to be a first-round pick — a potential top-10 pick too — in April's NFL draft and most likely the first running back drafted.