Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has earned an ESPY Awards nomination for Best Breakthrough Athlete.
His nomination follows a stellar rookie season with the New York Giants in which he totaled more than 2,000 all-purpose yards, found the end zone 15 times and won the 2018 NFL and Associated Press Rookie of the Year awards. That certainly looks like the résumé of a breakthrough athlete.
Barkley is up against Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and reigning U.S. Open champ Naomi Osaka for the award.
He isn't the only Penn Stater nominated for an ESPY this year.
Alumna Shawn Morelli earned a nomination for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. The cycling star was nominated for the same award back in 2017.
A U.S. Army veteran, Morelli launched an impressive cycling career following a 2009 deployment in Afghanistan in which she was seriously injured from an IED. She claimed two gold medals in the 2016 Rio Paralympic games for Team USA and broke her own world record in track cycling’s 3000m pursuit.
More recently, Morelli earned four gold medals in the 2017 IPC Track Cycling World Championships and 2017 IPC Road Cycling World Championships. The 1998 Penn State graduate now has her sights set on the 2020 Paralympic games in Tokyo, Japan.
In addition to Morelli's 2017 nomination, past nominations for former Nittany Lions included Penn State wrestler Zain Retherford, who was up for Best Male College Athlete back in 2017, and women’s soccer standout Raquel ‘Rocky’ Rodriguez who was nominated for Best Female College Athlete in 2016.
The 2019 ESPYS will air on July 10 at 8 p.m. on ABC.