Tarow Barney Commits to Penn State: Nittany Lions Land 4-Star JUCO DL

Jeff BellCorrespondent INovember 24, 2013

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien
Penn State coach Bill O'BrienJamie Sabau/Getty Images

Penn State's trend of following up a win with a loss in 2013 continued in Saturday's 23-20 defeat to Nebraska, but the Nittany Lions did get some good news from the recruiting world.

Defensive linemen Tarow Barney has committed to play for Bill O'Brien's team, according to Ryan Syder of Rivals.com:

Barney, a 4-star player from the junior college ranks, is listed at 6'3" and 285 pounds. His commitment gives the Nittany Lions two defensive line players in the class, and Barney also becomes the fifth 4-star player to give his verbal to Penn State.

The news is huge for several reasons, but chief among them is the position Barney plays. While there are hundreds of defensive backs and athletes out there to be scooped up by BCS programs, elite defensive linemen are a rare breed. And while there's no surefire way to predict Barney's future success, his pledge is a major victory in recruiting.

Hailing from Bainbridge, Georgia, Barney also had offers from Iowa State and Arizona State among a number of other programs.

Another important aspect of this commitment is that with everything going on at Penn State, from the bowl ban to other various sanctions, it says something about O'Brien and the culture he's created to be able to snag a verbal commit, even on a weekend in which his team lost.

The Nittany Lions now have 16 commits as part of the 2014 class, which 247Sports ranks as the No. 23 class in the nation. On the gridiron, the team takes on Wisconsin next Saturday in the regular-season finale.