Five Players to Watch in 2019: #3 Micah Parsons

In a five-part series, I will count down the top five Penn State Football players I am excited to watch for the 2019 season. With a such a young team filled with potential, this list was very difficult to make. My first two players, Justin Shorter and Pat Freiermuth, came from the offensive side of the ball. Let’s turn it over to a player who figures to be a key play-maker in the heart of the Penn State defense. 

The Legend of 11

The number 11 just means a little bit more at Penn State. This is the number of linebacker legends who wore the blue and white. LaVar Arrington and NaVorro Bowman come to mind when a linebacker wears this number. This number isn’t just for anybody. It is only for players who are capable of filling the infamous black shoes of Penn State greats. Penn State has another number 11 who is ready to fill those shoes and his name is Micah Parsons.

One of the most hyped prospects in the Class of 2018, Micah Parsons walked on to campus in January last year knowing the expectations. He was the five-star recruit that defensive coordinators dreamed of whereas offensive coordinators had nightmares thinking about him.

Living up to Expectations

Parsons made only one start in 2018, but played a significant amount in his true freshman season.  He tallied 83 tackles for the season and led the Nittany Lions. He became the first freshman in school history to lead the team in tackles. He also had five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles throughout his freshman season.

Parsons big 2018 season earned him various distinctions throughout the season and during the postseason, as well. Both ESPN and 247Sports named him to their Midseason Freshman All-American Teams. Then, after the season, he made Freshman All-American Teams as published by The Athletic, ESPN, and 247Sports. This leaves Parsons with plenty of high expectations for 2019.

 

What to Expect from Parsons in 2019

As Cory wrote last week, Micah Parsons proved many doubters wrong in 2018. For 2019, he is looking to silence all of critics and prove he is the best linebacker in the Big Ten. His 6’3” 245 lb. frame mixed with superb athleticism gives me little doubt that Parsons could make that claim by the end of the season.

Stepping on to campus last January certainly helped him grasp the playbook and develop his body, but another year of experience and training should enhance his performance even more. Some players may appear hesitant on the field because they aren’t trusting their instincts or trusting what they saw on film. In year two, I fully expect Parsons to trust his gut and use his knowledge from practice, film study, and review of the playbook to allow his athleticism to take over and create big plays.

The Harrisburg native came into Happy Valley last year with high expectations and exceeded them, by all means. He comes into 2019 with even more expectations and I fully expect him to exceed those again. For me, I see 100 tackles, 3-4 sacks, close to 10 tackles for loss, and a few forced turnovers as a real possibility for Parsons. But, knowing Micah Parsons, he’ll blow those expectations out of the water and remind Penn State fans of the other legends who wore number 11.

For Monday’s article on #5 Player to Watch, Justin Shorter, click here.

For Tuesday’s article on #4 Player to Watch, Pat Freiermuth, click here.

For today’s Penn State’s Prey: Indiana Hoosiers, click here.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I reveal my #2 Player to Watch in 2019!

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