Less than 24 hours before the beginning of spring practice, Penn State announced that its hired Deion Barnes to be it’s next defensive line coach.
The fan-favorite has been named Penn State’s defensive line coach. https://t.co/nL4u3OGzn8
— Joe Smeltzer (@joesmeltzer775) March 14, 2023
After previous defensive line coach John Scott Jr. left for the Detroit Lions late last month, Penn State fans wanted Barnes, a former Penn State player already on coach James Franklin’s staff, to replace him.
They weren’t the only ones.
“I want Coach Franklin to hire him,” former defensive tackle PJ Mustipher told reporters at his NFL Combine press conference earlier this month, responding to a question asked by Penn State beat reporter Johnny McGonigal of PennLive.com. “I think he should because he’s putting a lot of work in our defensive line. Deion and Coach Scott, that tandem was phenomenal.”
Mustipher got his wish, and the current Penn State defensive linemen, such as Adisa Isaac and Chop Robinson, are likely pleased as well.
In a statement, Barnes said he’s “thrilled and honored” to be Penn State’s next defensive line coach.”
“I am extremely grateful to Coach Franklin for giving me this opportunity to lead a room full of tremendous young men who have worked so hard each and every day,” Barnes said. “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 worked on Franklin’s staff for three seasons as a graduate assistant. In January, the program promoted him to an analyst. Barnes didn’t have too much time to get used to that position, and him being promoted so soon is a sign of how Franklin and the program feel about him.
“We are excited to have Deion represent his alma mater as our defensive line coach,” Franklin said in a statement. “I have really been impressed watching him grow as a coach and leader these past three seasons. Deion’s passion for Penn State and the defensive line room has been a differentiator.”
Franklin went on to state that it’s “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. I look forward to watching him to continue to develop and inspire our defensive linemen.”
Among Penn State’s position coaches, Barnes is the third Penn State letterman on staff, joining cornerbacks/associate head coach Terry Smith and tight ends coach Ty Howle. Barnes is the first of Franklin’s former players to be one of his position coaches. He played on Franklin’s first team in 2014.