But when Barnes recently reflected on his redshirt freshman season, he saw something much different.
"I was upset with myself," Barnes said. "I called my dad and I was like, 'I can't believe I missed all those sacks.'… On the field, I would know that I missed a sack. But there were a couple more that I saw (on tape) that if I would have done something different, I would have had a couple of more."
For the record, Barnes finished the season with team highs in sacks (six) and tackle for loss (10). By his reckoning, he left four more sacks out on the field.
So what could he have done differently to get those quarterback drops?
"Listen to Coach Johnson," he said with a laugh. "(I was) taking the inside when I was not supposed to and doing stupid things on the field."
Of course, he meant PSU veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
A young player who has already experienced considerable success admitting he has to pay more attention to his position coach?
By the sound of it, the rising star has his feet planted firmly on the ground. Check out our video above to hear what he had to say about improving from his rookie year, using former Lion Tamba Hali as a role model and much more.
And be sure to get in on the discussion about spring ball, recruiting and everything else in the world of Penn State football on our TAP forum.