Beyoncé walks into a room, you know it. The young Cassius Clay walked into a room, you knew it. Magic Johnson walks into a room, you know it. John Wayne walked into a room, you knew it.
Saquon Barkley walked into the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Saturday morning, and you knew it.
It is called star power.
“In 1982,” Giants co-owner and Hollywood film and television producer Steve Tisch told The Post, “we were casting ‘Risky Business.’ And a young 19-year-old walked into the casting office and smiled. That 19-year-old had star power. Tom Cruise.”
Starquon Barkley is not risky business.
He’s all business on the football field, and he will be commercial and merchandising business off it.
I asked Tisch how he would define star power.
“For an actor, it’s someone who commands the screen.
“For an athlete, it’s someone who commands the playing field.
“And I think he’s gonna be a star on the field and off the field.”
Odell Beckham Jr. used The Catch to catapult him to celebrity.
Starquon, more polished and at ease in the spotlight, walks in with it.
“A star generates a true sense of respect, admiration and excitement,” Tisch added. “Stars are not only athletes and entertainers. Parents and teachers also have star power.”
Tisch watched it all and quipped: “We got a quarterback, we got a running back, and we got the Giants back!”
Well, not quite yet, of course.
“That’s not the goal and the dream to make it to the NFL draft,” Barkley said. “The goal and the dream is to win championships, be a dominant player.”
Starquon changes the complexion of the franchise, on the field and in the locker room.
“He’s humble, he’s grateful, he’s generous with sharing his success,” Tisch said. “He acknowledges the God-given talent he has. It’s very impressive. I keep reminding myself that this is a 21-year-old, and I’ve got five kids. He’s a role model.
“I think he’s gonna be a role model for his generation.”
It is a Giant responsibility, especially for a 21-year-old who just became a father, but you don’t get the feeling Starquon will run from it.
But for Starquon, all that talk about him becoming the face of a franchise or the face of the league is for tomorrow.
He’s Saquon Barkley, No. 26, New York Giants running back right now.
“I think the face of the franchise is kind of how you take it,” he said. “I know that’s been said about me, and that’s been said about me at Penn State. But, I think it’s kind of how you view it. I really never viewed myself as that. If that comes along with the things that I’m doing, then so be it.
“The more success you have, the more attention and the more spotlight comes to your name. They kind of tag you with that. But that’s not something that I’m really looking forward to be.
“If that happens, God willing, I have a lot of success and that comes with the territory, then so be it.”
Everyone around the Giants believes he is The Natural.
“I feel like I want to get to the point where I’m a dominant player in the league and I have that presence,” Barkley said. “I think that’s why I was brought here to bring an impact to the running game, to have that same domination that I had in college — where a team wants to just shut me down, and then it just opens up everyone else. And it’s vice versa.”
This is a grounded young man who believes in himself and is comfortable in his own skin.
“I’m very confident in myself, and sometimes that hurts me,” he said. “I have this mindset and mentality every time I touch the score, and I really truly believe that. It’s something I try to do a little too much.”
Starquon will be embraced by his teammates because he will know his place before he is comfortable emerging as a leader.
“You gotta earn the respect of your teammates first, come in with that mindset that nothing’s given to you, you gotta earn everything, that’s first and foremost,” he said.
There are never any guarantees — the NFL graveyard is littered with bright-eyed prospects who were supposed to be can’t-miss and missed. But you have to like Starquon’s chances.
James Wah was a running back who played with Starquon at Whitehall High School in Coplay, Pa.
“I think he has the potential to be the most dynamic player in the NFL,” Wah said.
And if Wah is right, Starquon’s million-dollar smile and humility and family values will inevitably seduce the endorsement crowd.
“The most important thing is football … if it becomes a distraction, I won’t do it,” he said.
Tisch told The Post: “I’m actually very, very happy for Giants fans, because we disappointed them last year. Hopefully this year, we’re gonna excite them and thrill them.”
“Forrest Gump” was a touchdown once for Tisch.
Run, Starquon, run.
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