Holy Cross alum Derrick Barnes has had so much of an impressive offseason and preseason that he’s listed as a starter on the Detroit Lions unofficial depth chart as they approach the start of the regular season.
A few months ago, that wasn’t looking to be the case when the Lions drafted Jack Campbell with the 18th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft at the same position. But Barnes really came on in the latter part of the 2022 season, slotted in as the starter as the season waned on.
Barnes really hit film study hard in the offseason to grow and mature into his position at linebacker even more. Entering his third season, things were still somewhat new last year as he switched linebacker roles to off the ball at strong side linebacker.
“I’ve been studying even more than I ever have. Asking questions and all the things I’ve done in previous years,” Barnes said to the Pride of Detroit at SB Nation. “But just taking it to the next level and just coming out here and showing everyone what I can do and what I’m able to do and what I’m about as a player.”
Barnes graduated from Holy Cross in 2017 where he also played basketball and ran track for the Indians. He was a standout linebacker and running back on the football team, named first team All-State and the Class 2A, 6th District player of the Year in the 2016 season after leading the team with 126 tackles and rushed for 1,567 yards and 22 touchdowns.
He went on to attend Purdue University where he tallied 225 tackles and 10.5 sacks with the Boilermakers in four seasons. Barnes was selected in the fourth round by the Lions in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In his first two seasons, Barnes has collected 114 tackles and three sacks.
The Lions will be on center stage when the season begins. They open with the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 7 at 8:20 p.m. in Kansas City.