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WATCH: Nick Singleton drawing comparisons to Saquon Barkley with performance in Penn State weight room

The electric sophomore running back continues to draw comparisons to his predecessor, Saquon Barkley.

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Penn State Football, Nick Singleton, Saquon Barkley
Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) celebrates scoring a touchdown with teammates Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Tyler Warren (44) and Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Brenton Strange (86) in the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

When Penn State football running back Nick Singleton burst onto the scene last fall, it was inevitable that he would draw comparisons to his predecessor, Saquon Barkley. Although they have differing running styles, both Singleton and Barkley catapulted themselves to the top of the Nittany Lion backfield en route to historic freshmen seasons. Seeing how Barkley’s career took off in years two and three, there’s much excitement among the Penn State faithful as to what Singleton can accomplish this season. And if fans were looking for another way to compare Singleton to Barkley, they got it yesterday as the sophomore running back is rapidly approaching a strength and conditioning record set by the Penn State legend. 

Nick Singleton is already approaching a Penn State football lifting record set by Saquon Barkley

Even while sharing a backfield with Kaytron Allen, Nick Singleton still had one of the most productive seasons for a freshman running back in Penn State Football history in 2022. With 1,061 yards, Singleton joined Barkley and D.J. Dozier as the only other Nittany Lion running backs to rush for at least 1,000 yards in their freshman seasons. He also set a Penn State freshman record with 12 rushing touchdowns. Together, Singleton and Allen became the only true freshman teammates in Big Ten history to each rush for at least 700 yards in a single year. 

Now this offseason, the focus for Nick Singleton has been building on the gains of 2022 – both physically and mentally. “We’re trying to get better each and every day,” Singleton told reporters after the Blue-White Game in April. “Coach Seider has been helping us — this whole summer, we’re trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger. Just trying to have that ‘1-0 mentality.'”

With the season less than 50 days away, it appears as if the offseason work is paying off for Singleton. Penn State football strength coach Chuck Losey posted a video to Twitter Saturday night which showed Singleton power cleaning 385 pounds. That is just 20 pounds off the program record – 405 pounds – set by Saquon Barkley as a junior in June of 2017. 

Barkley’s lift of 405 pounds broke the previous program record of 390 pounds he set as a sophomore a year prior. So for comparison, Singleton is neck-and-neck with Barkley at similar points in their Penn State careers. And that, along with what Singleton accomplished on the field last year, should be enough to strike fear into the hearts of Big Ten defensive coordinators everywhere. 



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Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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