Deion Barnes Becomes Fourth Nittany Lion to Enter 2015 Senior Bowl
Redshirt junior defensive end Deion Barnes will play in the 2015 Senior Bowl, joining fellow Nittany Lions Adrian Amos, Mike Hull, and Donovan Smith for the postseason college football all-star game in Mobile, Alabama on Jan. 24. The four selections are the most for Penn State since five Nittany Lions (Larry Johnson, Bryan Scott, Bryant Johnson, Michael Haynes, and Anthony Adams) were invited to the 2003 Senior Bowl.
Barnes and Smith will be two of three juniors to play in the event normally reserved for college seniors, alongside Auburn’s wide receiver Sammie Coates. With his accepted invitation, Barnes becomes the 32nd Penn State player selected to play in the Senior Bowl in the last 15 years and the 112th Nittany Lion all-time to participate in the premiere showcase for potential NFL talent.
After finishing his last season in blue and white with 44 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, and 6 sacks as a key cog in a defensive line that led all of college football in rushing defense, Barnes was named an All-Big Ten honorable mention. During his freshman campaign, the Philadelphia-native was named a consensus Freshman All-American and the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year, posting 26 tackles, 6 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Barnes is projected as the 19th best defensive end in the 2015 NFL Draft, according to nfldraftscout.com. Despite a lackluster sophomore season, Barnes was listed as Penn State’s top professional prospect prior to the 2014 season by CBS Sports. The 6-foot-4, 255 pound outside rusher is a relative unknown outside of Pennsylvania, but Bryan Fisher of NFL.com says his athletic frame and ability to rush the passer could allow him to go as early as the second day of the draft if he impresses at Penn State’s Pro Day and at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
We wish Barnes, Amos, Hull, and Smith the best of luck as they prepare for a career in the professional ranks, looking to add to the current total of 26 Nittany Lions in the NFL.