Mile Sanders saw the field very sparingly over his first two seasons at Penn State for obvious reasons. Though he only carried the ball 56 times behind Saquon Barkley in 2016 and 2017, he had an impressive average of 6.7 yards per carry.
Sanders had been a five-star recruit and one of the best high school running backs in the nation in 2015. He described the experience of getting very limited playing time at Penn State as “humbling” early on but according to coaches and to Barkley, Sanders has worked extremely hard, taken advantage of every rep in practice, and the Penn State running game has a bright future.
He may not have the same power and lower body strength that Barkley had but Sanders, like his predecessor, is a multi-talented player who has the great ability as a runner, receiver, and blocker out of the backfield.
His running style is reminiscent of current Pittsburgh Steeler and former Michigan State running back, Le’Veon Bell’s. Like Bell, Sanders is extremely patient in the backfield, waits for blocks to fully develop then cuts up field and takes off. He doesn’t have quite the burst that Barkley did but he does have speed when he gets into the open field and can easily turn a five to ten yard gain into a huge play by outrunning defensive backs.
For what it’s worth, Miles Sanders has a huge vote of confidence from the player he’ll be trying to replace. Barkley has called Sanders a future-star several times and jokingly tells Sanders to leave him a couple records. High praise from a guy who knows something about what it takes to be a great running back at the college level.