One year later, Micah Parsons Proved Me Wrong

The Linebacker U banner in the south end zone is hung up by the students in Nittanyville every game. The banner has been passed down for years. Throughout its tenure it started becoming tradition to have only the most impressive PSU linebackers sign the banner. Sometimes a player is asked to autograph the banner because of their emphatic on-field performance and other times its because of how much they meant to the program. I wasn’t so sure Micah Parsons was ever going to sign this banner.


Embarrassingly, in my close circle of friends I was never a big believer in the true sophomore linebacker.

Early on in his recruiting process I had inside “sources” that led me to believe that the high schooler was often in trouble and it was a possibility it was going to carry over into college. Even before he flipped his commitment to Ohio State, I never voiced it, but always felt Penn State would be better off without the distraction. When he was invited onto the College GameDay set, I was convinced that he would go to the Buckeyes and we would never hear from him again. The means at which he ended up back at Penn State were strange (as is the rest of college football recruiting nowadays) and made me even more skeptical about his future.

Then it was announced that Parsons would be playing linebacker–a position he had never played before. I thought this would limit his productivity and the true freshman would be lost all year long. I knew he had raw athleticism but I figured the immaturity I thought he demonstrated in high school would prevent his growth. I did think he could make it as a linebacker, but I had low expectations for him heading into his freshman year.

More importantly, I assumed that he would be a possible cancer on the team and he could even stint the growth of other players on the team. I expected him to set up shop in  head coach James Franklin’s doghouse for the next three years and even possibly transfer.

It’s safe to say I was wrong about every single part of it. Embarrassingly, flat-out, wrong.

He has been on campus since January of 2018 and has showed no signs of immaturity. In a complete 180 from what I expected, Parsons has quickly taken a leadership role on the defense. Not only has he NOT been a cancer for this football team, I wouldn’t be surprised if he roots out other possible cancers on the team. He is focused on his craft and dedicated to his team. You can sense his hunger for championships and you know that rubs off on his teammates.

Does he sometimes tweet overconfidently? Yes, but that is the type of attitude you want from your linebacker. Especially when he has the ability to back it up. And that is the most remarkable part about Micah Parsons that I grossly misgauged. It is that he is a stud at linebacker and it looks like he has been playing it all his life.

The true freshman had 83 tackles last year, which led the team. To give you an idea how special it was, his 83 tackles is only 27 tackles shy of Marcus Allen’s 110 for fifth in a single season at Penn State. Did I forget to mention he only started one game? Coach Franklin summed it up best, “I think about how much production he had last year and he never played linebacker before in his life.”

I was entirely wrong about Micah Parsons and I am excited for him to keep proving me wrong. The rest of the Big Ten should look out because this guy is the real deal. I am sure he will be signing the Linebacker U banner by the time he graduates.


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