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Penn State Football: Barnes To Forgo Final Year To Enter NFL Draft

by on December 30, 2014 8:09 PM

Penn State's talented defensive end Deion Barnes will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.

The 2014 All-Big Ten honorable mention selection started every game this season and 30 contests in his career.

Barnes graduated in December, earning his degree in recreation, parks and tourism management in just three and a half years. 

"Can’t believe I’ve walked my last time out of the tunnel,” said Barnes in a prepared statement released by the university. “I want to thank the Penn State family for being with me through the rough times. They’re the best fans in the nation. I'm going to miss playing in front of 107,000. I talked with my family and we believe it's best for me to move forward and forgo my fifth year. I want to thank the fans one more time and I want to thank Penn State for the opportunity you've given me. This has been the best four years of my life. I love y'all so much.”

"Our staff wants to thank Deion for all he’s done here at Penn State and we wish him all the best in the NFL," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "Deion has been great contributor for us on the field and earned his degree earlier this month. We’re excited to watch him take the next step.”

Barnes tallied 44 tackles this season en route to an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection. He also registered 6.0 sacks this season, which leaves Barnes tied for 14th in the Big Ten. His 12.5 tackles for a loss are good for 11th in the conference, while he led the Nittany Lions with three quarterback hurries. 

A native of Philadelphia, Barnes finished his career with 98 tackles in three seasons. He also accumulated 14.0 sacks and 26.5 tackles for a loss during his time in the Blue and White. Barnes was the 2012 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year after contributing 26 tackles (10 TFL), 6.0 sacks and three forced fumbles as a rookie.

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Barnes is the second Nittany Lion to announce his intention to enter the draft and forgo a final year of eligibility. Nittany Lion offensive lineman Donovan Smith announced his plans to go pro earlier this week.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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