After the showcase he put on at the Cotton Bowl, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons said he wanted to be part of the Heisman Trophy conversation. Here comes the first step: College football watch-list season.
Parsons made the first of many preseason watch lists June 4, when he was named to the LOTT Impact Trophy list. Parsons is among 42 players nominated for the award, named for Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott.
Last year, Parsons became the first sophomore to be named Big Ten linebacker of the year. Parsons often was the best player on the field. Against Michigan, eight of his 14 tackles held the offense to one yard or less. And against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl, Parsons had two sacks, forced two fumbles and broke up two passes.
Parsons' list of 2019 accolades was long. He was a consensus NCAA All-American, earning first-team recognition from Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, ESPN, AFCA and the Walter Camp Foundation. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award.
Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry said he expects even more from Parsons this season and will tailor schemes to him.
"It certainly was brought up in our offseason self-scout: How can we use Micah more?" Pry said. "He's obviously a rare talent, and I think his best football is in front of him."
The Lott IMPACT Trophy recognizes players who embody the qualities of its namesake: integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
Penn State's Carl Nassib won the award in 2015.