Our Penn State player preview series is back, taking you up to the start of practice in August for the 2014 season. We’ve now switched sides and moved from offense to defense. Today, we take a look at defensive end Deion Barnes.
From the Philadelphia area, Barnes was sought after by several big-time schools coming out of high school. Before choosing to go to Happy Valley, he entertained offers from schools like Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Barnes really stepped up during his freshman season in 2012. He recorded 26 total tackles and led the team with six sacks. His effort earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Big things were expected of Barnes heading into last season, as he was expected to take over for Jordan Hill as the leader of the defensive line.
Unfortunately, Barnes failed to consistently show the dominance that he did as a freshman. Though he recorded two more tackles (28), he only registered two sacks. He seemed to almost nonexistent at times, especially early in the season. Perhaps he felt the pressure that was on him to be a leader and that played into his inconsistent performance.
This year, Barnes will once again be looked at as a leader. However, unlike last season when the defensive line was a bit inexperienced, Barnes has plenty of help. C.J. Olaniyan, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson are all around to help relieve some of the pressure on Barnes. Now a junior, look for him to take a step forward and show the greatness that he did as a freshman.
30 total tackles and five sacks is a reasonable prediction for Barnes in 2014.