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Penn State football defensive line coach heating up on the recruiting trail

Deion Barnes has only been the defensive line coach at Penn State for a few months. But, he appears to be hitting his stride on the recruiting trail which is a great sign for his future.



Penn State football DL, Recruiting, Deion Barnes
Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin stands in front of his players prior to taking the field against the Buffalo Bulls at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

On February 27th, 2023 the Penn State football coaching staff took on a new challenge, as defensive line coach John Scott Jr took a position with the Detroit Lions. They quickly made a decision to promote Deion Barnes from graduate assistant to DL coach.

Scott spent three seasons with the Nittany Lions and during the 2022 season, the defensive line took a massive step forward from a production standpoint. Last season the Penn State football team racked up 43 sacks which was good enough for the 6th most sacks by a team in the FBS. But with the departure of Coach Scott, there was a role to be filled and head coach James Franklin decided to promote within the program as former PSU outside linebacker Deion Barnes was selected as the next defensive line coach.

Penn State defensive line coach starting to heat up

As the months went on many wondered how will Barnes fare on the recruiting trail. As the Penn State football team is currently loaded with talent on the defensive line. Most notably Chop Robinson, Dani-Dennis Sutton, and Adisa Isaac lead the room entering the 2023 season. Scott Jr helped seal the deal with Robinson and Dennis-Sutton, but the question remained, can Deion Barnes deliver with the on-field production and securing recruits?

As the summer months are upon us Barnes has begun to find his stride in terms of recruiting. In June he landed two commitments, one from three-star defensive end Xavier Gilliam, and the other coming from three-star defensive tackle De’Andre Cook. Both players are great additions to the 2024 recruiting class, but last night’s commitment felt even larger.

The best in PA, stay in PA

The Penn State football team landed 4-star defensive end Mylachi Williams who is from the Philadelphia area. Not only is Williams a tremendously talented prospect, but coach Barnes has deep roots in the Philadelphia area as he attended Northeast High School himself. So, for Barnes to be able to land a talented recruit from his backyard is huge in terms of things to come.

Unfortunately, you can’t win every recruiting battle as the Nittany Lions fell short with Benedict Umeh who committed to Stanford yesterday. To me, Umeh’s commitment is more academic-related than the lack of effort from the Penn State coaching staff. The moral of the story is, you can’t win them all, but coach Barnes is starting to find his groove on the recruiting trail.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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