Enter Tarow Barney, a defensive tackle from Northwest Mississippi Community College (Senatobia, Miss.). The Scout.com three-star prospect signed with the Nittany Lions Wednesday, the first day juco prospects were allowed to put pen to paper.
Thus, he became the first official member of Penn State's Class of 2014. Get the lowdown on Barney — and his potential impact — below.
Name: Tarow Barney
Hometown: Bainbridge, Ga.
Tale of the Tape: 6-foot-3, 285 pounds
Position: Defensive Tackle
Eligibility: Three years to play two.
2013 Stats: 36 tackles (9.5 TFLs), 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, five quarterback hurries.
Verbal Commitment: After visiting University Park for the first time Nov. 24 to see Penn State face Nebraska , Barney fell in love with the school. This even though the Lions lost the game, 23-20.
He wasted no time ending his recruitment before boarding a plane back to Senatobia, giving Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien and D-line coach Larry Johnson his word before leaving campus.
"It had that feeling there," Barney said at the time. "I had that feeling that it could be it the minute I got off the plane [Friday]. [Johnson] is the best at what he does, and he can get me to be the best player I can be and help get me to that next level.
"He's a great person, and Coach O'Brien is a good coach. I think I can be the answer to where he's trying to take Penn State football, and that he can give me a spot to compete to play."
What He's Saying Now: "It feels pretty good knowing I worked pretty hard to get to this point. I'm excited to have this opportunity," Barney said after signing Wednesday. "I've already seen a little bit of football after high school, and I think I'll be ready to apply it to Penn State.
"I feel like I'm very coachable and that Coach Johnson can teach me a lot."
Intended Major: Barney will arrive Jan. 11 before the spring semester begins Jan. 13. He will pursue an education in computer sciences.
Depth Chart Impact: With the aforementioned losses, redshirt-sophomore-to-be Austin Johnson is the only returnee with significant experience. He made 27 tackles, 3.5 of which went for loss, and recorded a sack in 2013.
Then-redshirt freshman Brian Gaiaand classmate Derek Dowrey filled out the depth chart at the end of last season. One is likely destined for a flip to the offensive line — we're guessing Gaia — meaning one of State's Class of 2014 tackles must be ready immediately. Barney believes he is the name.
He told FightOnState.com that Larry Johnson projects him as a three-technique tackle.
Talking Points: Asked what he is most anxious about with respect to arriving at Penn State, Barney pointed to learning the terminology of defense.
"It all depends on the terms they use," Barney said. "Once I get the terms they use down, it's all the same."
When it comes to his skill, the prospect's film shows an explosion off the ball and ability to get up field. He also showed strength in identifying the play call. When discussing his play.
"I would say getting off the ball is my biggest strength, and my pass rushing," he said. "I can get off blocks and make plays happen."
Film: Barney's film can be found here.
Fun Fact: Barney is the 13th FBS player to pass through the Rangers' program, and 48th player to sign with a four-year school since 2008.
Final Thoughts: With the depth concerns discussed above, State did what it needed to fill a void and then some. The inclusion of Barney may allow for extra development time for true freshmen Antoine White and Thomas Holley, the two other talented DTs in this class.