Big Ten Football Preview: Running Backs

5 of 9

5. Penn State: Akeel Lynch, Junior; Saquon Barkley, Freshman

Dec 27, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Akeel Lynch (22) rushes the ball against the Boston College Eagles during the second half of the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Penn State won 31-30 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Akeel Lynch is finally getting his opportunity to be the main guy in Happy Valley. He spent his first two seasons behind Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak, but now it’s his time to shine. Lynch had a solid season in 2014, rushing for 678 yards and four touchdowns on 147 carries. He largely benefited from an injury to Zwinak late in the season.

The Nittany Lions running game was pretty much limited last season by an offensive line that struggled all season long. Behind a revamped offensive line now at Penn State, Lynch is primed to really have a breakout season as a junior. He is the clear number one option for the Nittany Lions, so he is expected to to receive a large portion of the workload.

True freshman Saquon Barkley is also expected to contribute and he has the potential to do great things at Penn State. Barkley was a highly touted prospect and was rated the 14th best running back in the Class of 2015. If he can produce, the Nittany Lions may really have a dangerous offense in 2015.