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2017 Fiesta Bowl prospects to know: Washington Huskies vs Penn State Nitanny Lions

Prospects to know Washington Huskies vs Penn State Nitanny Lions

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The prospect that was the favorite for the Heisman Trophy heading into the season as well as some of the best defensive prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft highlight a great matchup between the Washington Huskies and Penn State Nitanny Lions.

Fiesta Bowl - Saturday 4:00 PM ET
Washington vs Penn State

#50 Vita Vea DT Washington 6’5” 340
Season Stats: 38 TKL (26 solo) 5.5 TFL 3.5 SCK 4 PBU 1 kick BLK

Vea has a year of eligibility remaining, but the 2017 Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year is expected to declare for the draft after this game.

#8 Dante Pettis WR Washington 6’1” 195
Season Stats: 62 REC 721 YDS 11.6 AVG 7 TD receiving, 19.5 PR AVG 4 PR TD

Pettis’ receiving touchdowns dipped from 15 in 2016, to seven this season, but the speedy receiver returned four punts for touchdowns, and holds the FBS record with nine career punt return scores. Pettis is the son of former Major League Baseball outfielder, Gary Pettis.

#7 Keishawn Bierria LB Washington 6’1” 223
Season Stats: 49 TKL (34 solo) 4 TFL 1 SCK 2 FF 2 PBU

#99 Greg Gaines DT Washington 6’2” 322
Season Stats: 29 TKL (15 solo) 5 TFL 2.5 SCK 3 PBU

#9 Myles Gaskin RB Washington 5’10” 191
Season Stats: 1282 YDS 6.2 AVG 19 TD rushing, 18 REC 228 YDS 12.7 AVG 3 TD receiving

#26 Saquon Barkley RB Penn State 5’11” 230
Season Stats: 1134 YDS 5.7 AVG 16 TD rushing, 47 REC 594 YDS 12.6 AVG 3 TD receiving, 28.4 KR AVG 2 KR TD

The early-season Heisman favorite, Barkley tumbled to fourth in the final voting, but he still managed to capture his second consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award. Barkley is a tremendous multipurpose threat, and possibly the most impressive physical talent in the draft. He’s reportedly been timed in the 4.3s in the 40 at 225-230 pounds. But the Penn State junior can be frustrating as a runner. Barkley tends to leave yards on the table while trying to hit home runs, rather than lowering his pads and taking what the defense gives him. He topped 150 rushing yards three times this season, but also averaged fewer than three yards per carry in three other games. Don’t get me wrong, Barkley is a top 5-10 player in this class, I just raise an eyebrow when other analysts act as though he should be immune to all critiques.

#2 Marcus Allen S Penn State 6’2” 207
Season Stats: 64 TKL (39 solo) 4 TFL 1 SCK 2 FF 1 INT 3 PBU

#88 Mike Gesicki TE Penn State 6’6” 250
Season Stats: 51 REC 501 YDS 9.8 AVG 9 TD

Gesicki was a three-sport high school athlete, starring in basketball and volleyball in addition to football. He will leave school as Penn State’s single-season and career leader in catches, yards and touchdowns by a tight end.

#40 Jason Cabinda LB Penn State 6’1” 234
Season Stats: 84 TKL (31 solo) 6 TFL 2.5 SCK 2 FF 3 PBU

#5 DaeSean Hamilton WR Penn State 6’1” 206
Season Stats: 48 REC 747 YDS 15.6 AVG 7 TD

Hamilton enters this game as the leading pass catcher in school history, with 209 career receptions. He established career highs in yards per catch and touchdowns as a senior in 2017.