Harrisburg defensive end and 2017 signee Damion Barber is on campus after a lengthy delay.
Barber, who tweeted a picture of his Penn State ID card early Wednesday evening, arrived in Happy Valley after finishing classwork the past couple months in an effort to be academically eligible.
Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer saw Barber on Wednesday and called his arrival “awesome.”
“The guy did what he had to do to get here,” Spencer said of the four-star talent. “When you can get that guy an opportunity now that he’s done everything he’s had to do — you give him an opportunity to come to a place like Penn State to play — it’s just a blessing.”
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The Nittany Lions were fully expecting Barber’s arrival. Head coach James Franklin said at Penn State’s Aug. 5 media day that he and his staff were “confident that Damion’s going to be here.”
Barber was included on Penn State’s 2017 media guide roster, which was released on July 24 at Big Ten media days, with the No. 90. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound pass-rusher was not on the team’s electronic roster, as of press time.
Penn State’s fall semester begins Aug. 21. The rest of the Nittany Lions’ 2017 class reported to campus on June 24.
Despite the Harrisburg native being nearly two months behind, one of Barber’s new teammates doesn’t believe it’ll be an issue for him to adjust.
“I think all of us, we’re a big family,” linebacker Koa Farmer said. “We expected him to come in. It’s not a problem showing him the ropes of what we do as a team and how we function. I don’t think that’s a problem for him. It’s not a rush for him. We’re not like, ‘C’mon, c’mon.’ ... He’ll catch up quick.”
Added Spencer: “We call him, ‘Smiley.’ He’s all smiles.”