As Eric pointed out in yesterday’s post on our #2 player, Allen Robinson, there was a bit of a disagreement among the two of us over the top player on the PSU roster. When the final votes were tallied, both Robinson, and our top player Deion Barnes, had 1 first place and 1 second place vote While I would love to say there was a long, thought out process to break the tie, I really just pulled rank on Eric and ranked Deion first.
Barnes, last season’s Big 10 freshman of the year, has all the tools to be the next great Nittany Lions defensive end. His combination of size, speed, and strength, could ultimately make him one of the most complete ends to come out of Happy Valley in recent memory. By the time the 2012 season was over, Barnes had amassed 5 sacks, 10 tackls-for-loss, and 27 tackles total. Watching him flat out terrorize the Nebraska offense early on in Lincoln last year (3 TFLs, 1 sack) was one of my highlights of the season, as the Huskers frantically tried to find a way to contain him.
This coming season, Barnes faces challenge sthat many of last year’s emerging talents will, higher expectations and more attention from the opposition. Not only does his breakout performance have many fans, myself included, expecting bigger things in 2013, the departure of Jordan Hall in the middle of the line is almost certainly going to lead to more attention on Deion’s end. Perhaps the best news for Penn State fans comes from Deion himself though. He has not been shy about sharing his expectations for this season, as he has put pressure on himself to be better. If that comes to pass, and there’s no reason to think it won’t, that’s bad news for the rest of the Big 10, but great news for the Nittany Lions.
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