Today’s player is one of the best and most important defender on the team. He is entering his third season and will be a definite starter on the outside.
Derrick Barnes - Jr.
Covington, KY (Holy Cross HS)
6’1”, 240 pounds
2019 Projection: Starter at Outside Linebacker
With Markus Bailey grabbing all the headlines, Barnes has plenty of leeway to cause havoc in the background. He is the rare linebacker that avoided a redshirt and he played in 12 games in 2017, making a pair of starts. He finished that year with 16 tackles and a wealth of experience.
That experience paid off big time last season. He was third on the team with 92 tackles, only behind Bailey and Navon Mosley (who will both be back in 2019). He also had more of a role as a pass rushers with three sacks and eight tackles for loss. His best game came agaisnt Missouri, when he had 13 tackles and a sack in the loss. He added two more sacks a week later against Boston College.
This is going to be a very big season for Barnes. With Bailey, Purdue has a pair of excellent linebackers. He may play more of a hybrid role lining up as a rush end at times, but he will be all over the field as a key member of the defense.