of Northeast (Philadelphia)
gave a verbal commitment to Joe Paterno and Penn State Thursday morning.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Barnes will join 6-9, 260-pound Shawn Oakman
of Penn Wood (Lansdowne)
in what could be the Nittany Lions' bookend pass rushers of the future. Oakman made his commitment to Penn State last July.
Barnes wanted to wait a little longer, until after his senior season. He made the announcement Thursday morning, choosing Penn State over Georgia after a visit to Athens last week.
"Deion couldn't be any happier," Northeast coach Chris Riley said. "Right now Deion may be on the slender sie, but I can easily see him putting on 30 pounds without a problem and coming in at around 255 by next season. This was a long process for Deion.
"It started last year when everything was coming at him at once. I would say he had around 14 schools coming in, one major school every other day. I know he wanted to take his time with this and I think he's pleased that he did, which enabled him to focus on the season."
According to Riley, Barnes is projected to play weakside defensive end, which would project the larger, taller Oakman, who also has the body frame to add an extra 20 to 30 pounds, on the strong side.
Barnes will sign his national letter on intent on Wednesday, Feb. 2.
"I think being comfortable with Penn State and the academics was the difference," Riley said. "Deion really liked the academics and graduating with a college degree is a very big thing to Deion and his parents."
Barnes, a prestigious Maxwell Club Award winner, was a major force on the field this past season. He finished his senior year with an incredible 90 tackles, including 30 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, three blocked punts (returning one for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles.
And those stats were compiled with teams running away from Barnes, who also played a role on Northeast's success this year offensively, catching nine passes at the tight end position for three touchdowns and 175 yards.Joseph Santoliquito can be reached at JSantoliquito@yahoo.com.