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Penn State LB Micah Parsons Makes It Official: Will Opt Out of 2020 Season and Enter NFL Draft

by on August 06, 2020 2:50 PM

It's official: Micah Parsons has played his last game at Penn State.

The star rising junior linebacker on Thursday afternoon confirmed reports from earlier in the week that he would opt out of the Nittany Lions 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft

Parsons revealed his decision in a video posted to Instagram, in which he said he felt comfortable with the COVID-19 safety measures at Penn State but did not want to risk potentially infecting his young son or other family members.

"As I consider all 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," Parsons said. "While I felt safe with the health and safety standard as were return to Penn State for workouts, the potential risks to the health and well being of my son, far outweighed my urge to playing football this season. Therefore, I decided to opt out of the 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

"I will be graduating early received 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. In the end, there is only one LBU. And I thank you."

Parsons ends his Nittany Lion career with 191 tackles. His final performance in the Blue and White was a career outing with 14 tackles, two sacks and two pass deflections in Penn State's Cotton Bowl win over Memphis to cap his sophomore campaign.

Prior to announcing his decision, the Harrisburg native was expected to be one of the biggest defensive stars in college football, landing on the watch lists for every possible national award, earning a Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year nod, and inspiring talk of a potential Heisman candidacy.

Parsons is already widely considered to be a potential top-five or top-10 pick for next year's draft. He joins a growing list of high-profile players opting out of the 2020 season because of a variety of COVID-19-related concerns.

Penn State now will plan to lean lean on the likes of Jesse Luketa, Ellis Brooks and rising sophomore Brandon Smith at the linebacker position, among others.

In addition to announcing his plans, Parsons offered words of thanks to Penn State and discussed his goal of reaching the NFL.

"[Penn State has] given me an opportunity of a lifetime to achieve my dreams and aspirations," he said. "I have made connections with my teammates that will last a lifetime. And for that, I will forever be grateful. Nittany Nation took a chance and welcome 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 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 the opportunity to play at the highest level, the NFL. My opportunity has finally arrived." 

Earlier on Thursday, Penn State announced that it is planning to play the fall sports season — including football — without fans because of guidance from Gov. Tom Wolf's administration limiting the number of people at gatherings. The school may change course if the state offers new direction of fan attendance.

StateCollege.com's Ben Jones contributed to this report.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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