Parsons to Forgo 2020 Season
Junior was 2019 Consensus All-American, Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and Butkus Award Finalist
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State junior linebacker Micah Parsons has elected to forgo the 2020 season to prepare for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.
“I’d like to begin by saying thank you,” said Parsons. “Penn State’s given me an opportunity of a lifetime to achieve my dreams and aspirations. I have made connections with my teammates that will last a lifetime, and for that I will be forever be grateful. Nittany Nation took a chance and welcomed a kid from Harrisburg in with open arms, stood by me and supported me.
“Without Coach Franklin and Coach Pry, as well as the entire Penn State coaching staff, I would not be where I am today. You all allowed me to grow into the young man I have always wanted to be. Before arriving on campus, I was only a kid from Harrisburg with a dream.
“My dream was to receive a degree from a prestigious institution and prepare for an opportunity to play at the highest level, the NFL. My opportunity has finally arrived. As I considered all of my options for the 2020 season, I decided I needed to make a choice not for myself, but my son and those dearest to me. While I felt safe with the health and safety standards set as we returned to Penn State for workouts, the potential risk to the health and wellbeing of my son far outweighed my urge to play football this season. Therefore, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. I will be graduating early and receiving my degree in December. I’ve kept my word to Coach Franklin because leaving Penn State with my degree in hand was my main goal when I stepped on campus.”
“I am unbelievably proud of Micah and appreciative of how he has represented our football program, this University and the state of Pennsylvania,” said Penn State head coach James Franklin. “His work ethic enabled him to become a Consensus All-American in 2019, the first sophomore to be the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year last fall and to be considered one of the top, returning defensive players in the country this season. What’s more impressive than his work ethic on the field is his work ethic in the classroom. He is on track to graduate in December and was also on pace to become an Academic All-Big Ten selection this fall. My job as the head coach of Penn State is to help everybody in our organization achieve their dreams and Micah is a great example. Micah and I have had many conversations about his NFL aspirations throughout the recruiting process and his time at Penn State; he is now ready to pursue those opportunities. I fully support Micah, his decision to opt out of the 2020 season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Again, I couldn’t be more proud of him and I am excited to see him play on Sundays in 2021.”
Parsons was named a Consensus All-American in 2019, the 43rd in program history and the first since Saquon Barkley in 2017. He was voted the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year in the Big Ten, becoming the first sophomore in Big Ten history to win the award. The Harrisburg native was additionally a finalist for the Butkus Award and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.
During the 2019 campaign, Parsons finished the season with 10 or more tackles in three straight games and six of the final seven games. He ranked fifth in the Big Ten averaging 8.4 tackles per game, while ranking third in the league and sixth nationally forcing 0.31 fumbles per contest.
In the Cotton Bowl victory over Memphis, Parsons tied a career high with 14 tackles with 10 of those coming in the first half. He registered a career-high three tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles against the Tigers. He reached the 100-tackle mark, becoming the first Penn State player since Marcus Allen in 2016 to reach that feat. He finishes his career tied for seventh all-time at Penn State with six forced fumbles.
Penn State opens the 2020 football season Sept. 5 at Beaver Stadium against Northwestern. The Nittany Lions open preseason practice Friday, Aug. 7.