Deion Barnes, a former Penn State Football linebacker, graduate assistant, and analyst, has been promoted as the Nittany Lions‘ defensive line coach.
Barnes is a Nittany Lion through and through, and has given a lot to the Penn State Football program both as a player and as a coach.
Since joining the Penn State coaching staff as a graduate assistant three seasons ago, Barnes has been instrumental in bringing Penn State back into the recruiting game in Philadelphia and has been praised by other members of the staff and players for his work ethic and personality.
According to Terry Smith, via Audrey Snyder from the Athletic, Barnes had been “a great recruiter” that had done “tremendous for [Penn State] in Philadelphia.” Current and former players also love Barnes, including PJ Mustipher who took time out of his combine interview to stump for Barnes to be hired on as the DL coach.
PJ Mustipher is the first Penn State player to speak this week at the #NFLCombine. Asked him about Deion Barnes and Penn State’s vacancy at defensive line coach: “I want Coach Franklin to hire him. I think he should.” pic.twitter.com/8mpid7IMIw
— Johnny McGonigal (@jmcgonigal9) March 1, 2023
Why Penn State Football Made Right Decision
Barnes is seen as a rising star in the coaching industry, so it made sense for Penn State to lock him up while he is on the rise. Barnes recruiting relationships will continue to grow in Philadelphia, a place that Penn State wants to prioritize.
“I am thrilled and honored to be the defensive line coach for my alma mater,” Barnes said, in a statement released by the program. “I am extremely grateful to Coach Franklin for giving me this opportunity to lead a room of tremendous young men who have worked so hard each and every day. I have a lot of pride and passion for Penn State University, and I am excited to go to work with this coaching staff, this team, my letterman brothers and the best fans in college football.”
This hire could be one of head coach James Franklin’s best decisions long term if Barnes recruiting and coaching abilities continue to grow at a meteoric rate.