Penn State Football: Parsons Just One Of The Guys As Winter Workouts Finish
Micah Parsons will, in all likelihood, never have it easy at Penn State.
That's not to say it will always be hard, but he comes to State College with the highest expectations possible for a player. He's wearing LaVar Arrington's number, he has what amounts to unlimited potential. If a player could replace Saquon Barkley when it comes to transcendent talent, it might be Parsons. He's the answer to where Penn State turns to in a post-Barkley and soon-to-be post-McSorley era. And he hasn't even played a snap.
If anything he has it harder than Barkley, who was overlooked and turned himself into what he has become. Parsons shows up with the expectations that he already is.
So he will either have the pressure of being "the guy" or face the criticism of being human and coming up short of something almost unfair expectations. Heck, read the past few paragraphs.
It's not insignificant that Parsons enrolled early. He is most likely Penn State's starting middle linebacker, the kind of position that will quarterback a defense and can take years to master. Ultimately the move puts Penn State's brightest young star in its biggest area of need, it's not a bad combo, hard or not, it isn't a bad call.
Nevertheless it will potentially define a season. If Parsons can juggle college and a difficult middle linebacker position it will do wonders to anchor a Penn State defense transitioning from the comforts of a veteran unit. If he can't, Penn State's struggles won't rest all on his shoulders, but the quicker he learns the ropes the better off the Nittany Lions will be.
All of those questions, all of that potential, it starts with winter workouts. On Wednesday evening the Nittany Lions finished their 30th workout of the winter session and have two more to go.
And Parsons? He has shined.
"Micah has done really well," Strength coach Dwight Galt said after the lift. "One of things that Micah did, that when you come up here the stars disappear. He came in and did a great job and the older players have been great mentors for him. He came in a five-star guy, sixth ranked kid in the country and he became just one of the guys. The way he acts, he has fit in really well. It has really been a pleasure."
For Penn State fans that is welcome news. Not that Parsons is required to prove himself to anyone, but a dramatic and occasionally theatrical recruiting process was enough to at least raise a polite eyebrow when wondering how Parsons would fit on a roster that has come increasingly close over the past few years.
The answers appears to be just fine.
And when it comes to surprising people with his athletic abilities in the winter, Galt just laughed.
"Did you see his high school film?"