Watching old footage of former Penn State prodigy and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons play running back at Harrisburg High School in Pennsylvania feels like watching Bo Jackson in his hay day. Parsons simply runs over, around, or through his peers, and you get the feeling you're watching a great one make tackles against Giants running back Saquon Barkley or putting Tom Brady into the ground. After all, when you're named Defensive Rookie of the Year, you need to live up to your top billing as a defensive player.
Despite skipping out on the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns, Micah Parsons was the top linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft. That's a mark of greatness. Parsons has incredible athletic prowess, and it's been on display for the Dallas Cowboys ever since they selected him, but his motivation comes from elsewhere. His preseason announcement about departing Penn State came as a shock to many, but not to those who knew him. Parsons opted out for his son's health, happiness, and future.
Early Life and Incredible Penn State Career
Micah Aaron Parsons was born on May 26, 1999, when the top film was "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace". Parsons would prove to be a gridiron menace, though he's far from a phantom. He blew kids out of the water as a running back and defensive end in high school. Pointing out his five-star size, skill, and speed seems a cliche... just watch the videos: Micah Parsons is an incredible athlete. If he'd been born in England, he'd probably be in the Premier League.
Power 5 schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, and Oklahoma all recruited the young star for American football. But in the end, Parsons decided to go with the only State College he cared about. Parsons wanted to score (and prevent) touchdowns in Beaver Stadium for the Nittany Lions.
Parsons was asked to stop touchdowns at Penn State University (PSU) rather than score them. He proved himself an offensively adept linebacker. His freshman year was fantastic. His sophomore effort was spectacular.
The Penn State Football star forced fumbles right and left. He capped off his 2019 season by wrecking Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. He sacked All-American honors as well as Big Ten Linebacker of the Year.
Parsons came up just short as a Butkus Award finalist, and everyone assumed he would win the prestigious defensive prize in 2020. But even the best-laid plans crumbled under COVID-19.
Micah Parsons' Son Malcolm and His Penn State Opt-Out
It was Summer 2020. The country had been dealing with the pandemic for a quarter of the year. With his junior season approaching, Parsons had a choice. The choice wasn't about Parsons, though. The choice was about Malcolm Parsons.
After discussions with friends, fellow Penn State Nittany Lions, and head coach James Franklin, star LB Micah Parsons decided 2019 would be his last year in college football.
Parsons' reasoning revealed character. Putting his two-year-old son Malcolm's health above his fame is admirable. What's even more impressive was Parsons's graduation from Penn State in just two and a half years with a degree in criminology.
If this football thing doesn't work out and Parsons becomes a cop, I feel bad for any perp who tries to outrun him. However, after the Dallas Cowboys selected All-Pro NFL player in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the new NFC pass rusher became a walking ESPN highlight. Whether it's on the red carpet, in the playoffs, or possible a future Super Bowl, Parsons is ready to help Dak Prescott and Trevon Diggs get the Cowboys a Lombardi Trophy.
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