Penn State Football Promotes Deion Barnes To Defensive Line Coach
Analytics coordinator and offensive/defensive analyst Deion Barnes will serve as Penn State football’s new defensive line coach, the team announced Monday night.
“We are excited to have Deion represent his alma mater as our defensive line coach,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I have really been impressed watching him grow as a coach and leader these last three seasons. Deion’s passion for Penn State and the defensive line room has been a differentiator.
“It is clear to me that he wears his pride for this University through his work. The respect the players and staff have for Deion showed every day,” Franklin continued. “I look forward to watching him continue to develop and inspire our defensive linemen. He was a great addition to our staff in 2020 and I look forward to watching him thrive in this new role.”
The Nittany Lions’ preceding defensive line coach, John Scott Jr., vacated the position after accepting an NFL job earlier this week.
The internal hiring of Barnes marks the second positional coaching change made by the Nittany Lions this offseason. Shortly after the 2023 Rose Bowl, wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield was fired before being replaced by Virginia’s Marques Hagans.
After playing three seasons at Penn State from 2012-2014, Barnes returned to the team in 2020 when he joined the coaching staff. For three years, Barnes worked directly under Scott as a graduate assistant and the Nittany Lions’ assistant defensive line coach.
“I am thrilled and honored to be the defensive line coach for my alma mater,” Barnes said. “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.”
Barnes’ promotion to defensive line coach is actually his second promotion of the offseason. In January, Barnes was bumped from graduate assistant and assistant defensive line coach to analytics coordinator and offensive/defensive analyst.
Additionally, Penn State’s recruiting efforts have been notably aided by Barnes’ connection to the Philadelphia area.
In his three-year playing career in Happy Valley, Barnes recorded 99 tackles, 14 sacks, and five forced fumbles. His college success led to an undrafted free agent contract with the New York Jets and a practice squad spot with the Kansas City Chiefs in his short-lived professional career.
Barnes will now head up a defensive line squad headlined by Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac, who earned All-Big Ten honors after the 2022 season.
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