Deion Barnes Forgoes Final Year of Eligibility
A second Penn State player announced that he will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Defensive end Deion Barnes, a redshirt junior who graduated in December, will not be returning to Penn State following a season in which he earned an All-Big Ten honorable mention. Barnes finished this season with 44 tackles and 6.0 sacks and was an important piece along a defensive line that led all of college football in rushing defense.
Offensive tackle Donovan Smith was the first Penn State player to announce that he will enter the draft this offseason.
“Can’t believe I’ve walked my last time out of the tunnel,” Barnes said in a statement. “I want to thank the Penn State family for being with me through the rough times. They’re the best fans in the nation. I’m going to miss playing in front of 107,000.
“I talked with my family and we believe it’s best for me to move forward and forgo my fifth year. I want to thank the fans one more time and I want to thank Penn State for the opportunity you’ve given me. This has been the best four years of my life. I love y’all so much.”
Barnes is projected as the 16th best defensive end in the 2015 NFL Draft according to nfldraftscout.com. He was listed as Penn State’s top professional prospect following the 2013 season by CBS Sports. At 6’4″, 255 pounds, Barnes has displayed the athleticism and awareness off of the edge to garner these projections.
The Philadelphia-native was named a consensus Freshman All-American in 2012. He posted 26 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 10.0 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles in his first year at Penn State and received All-American honors from several news outlets.
Defensive end Greg Sickels, who played in all 13 games for the Lions as a backup, and true freshman Torrence Brown who redshirted his first season, are the candidates anticipated to compete for Barnes’ now vacant starting role.