From ESPN the Magazine:
BARKLEY’S CALVES ARE colossal, the size of canned hams. “They’re just … very different from most calves,” says Dwight Galt, Penn State’s strength coach, which helps explain why, since the age of 8, give or take, Barkley has dabbled in the art of the absurd.
He once knocked a grown man off his feet in his first year of youth football. The man was his assistant coach, and when he held out that tackling pad, Barkley rushed forward and boom! The guy crumpled to the ground like he didn’t have 100 pounds and 2 feet on Barkley. “I wish I’d bought myself a camcorder,” says his father, Alibay, because Barkley’s absurdity didn’t always have witnesses like it does today.
Akeel Lynch saw it firsthand in 2015. Two games into his collegiate career, Barkley soared over a Buffalo defender, his feet pedaling the Beaver Stadium air. He stuck his landing, then rumbled for 10 more yards. Lynch, the Nittany Lions’ rushing leader at the time, knew what Barkley’s gymnastics meant. “Ah, damn,” he thought. “It’s time for me to transfer.” (He did, to Nevada.)
Trace McSorley saw it all last season, even when the Nittany Lions quarterback wasn’t really supposed to. After he hands off, his coaches ask him to carry his fake a full 5 yards beyond the line, but sometimes McSorley can’t help but stop and stare as Barkley runs. “It gets me in trouble a little bit,” he says.
The NFL sees it too. At the combine in March, heading into a draft rich with running back talent — Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, for starters — scouts whispered Barkley’s name as a top-five pick in 2018. “I’m trying to think who I could compare him to,” an NFL scout says. “Like Barry Sanders.”