Today’s VBR player preview goes back to the defensive line. This time it’s for a newcomer. Although not a freshman, 2014 will be the first season at Penn State for defensive tackle Tarow Barney. After playing two years of junior college football, Barney has two years of eligibility remaining for the Nittany Lions.
Barney played his senior season at Bainbridge High School in Georgia. There he recorded 55 tackles and five tackles. Those numbers earned him an honorable-mention all-region selection and he also participated in War of the Border game, featuring high school standouts from Georgia and Florida.
After high school Barney attended Northwest Mississippi Community College where he played in all 10 games as a freshman in 2012. He registered 20 total tackles and helped lead his team to its first bowl victory in 20 years. In 2013 he started nine games and finished with 36 total tackles. Barney recorded a team-high nine-and-a-half tackles for loss and three-and-a-half sacks.
At the conclusion of his second year at Mississippi Community College, Barney was ranked as the No. 5 junior college defensive tackle by ESPN and the No. 18 overall junior college recruit. He received offers from several schools including: Iowa State, Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas State and Illinois. After deciding on the Nittany Lions, Barney enrolled at the school in January of 2013 in order to get a head start.
Barney participated fully in off-season workouts and spring practice. At the annual Blue-White Game, his first game in Beaver Stadium, he made two tackles, including a sack.
This year, Barney won’t be a starter on the defensive line, as Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson have the starting jobs all but locked up. However, with his post-high school experience and time spent working with the team since January, Barney should fit nicely into the rotation and see plenty of playing time.
Barney’s numbers are going to depend on where he falls in the defensive line rotation. If he plays as much as I expect him to, 20 tackles and a sack should be well within reach for the junior.