Former Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes, who has served as a graduate assistant the last three seasons, has been promoted to defensive line coach, the Nittany Lions announced Monday night.
Barnes, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2012, replaces John Scott Jr., who resigned last month to join the Detroit Lions coaching staff.
“We are excited to have Deion represent his alma mater as our defensive line coach,” Penn State 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.”
A former star at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, Barnes was a three-year starter (2012-14) for the Lions and played two seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs.
He returned to Penn State in 2020 as a grad assistant and helped coach 11 All-Big Ten defensive linemen, including second-team All-American Arnold Ebiketie.
“I am thrilled and honored to be the defensive line coach for my alma mater,” Barnes said in a statement. “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, and I am excited to work with this coaching staff, this team, my letterman brothers and the best fans in college football.”
The Lions begin spring practice Tuesday.