Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, who became a consensus All-American in his first year as a full-time starter, reportedly will opt out of a 2020 football season.
Though he has played linebacker full-time for just two seasons, Parsons grew into one of the nation's best at the position. He was a consensus All-American last season, voted the Big Ten linebacker of the year as a sophomore and returned as one of the nation's most heralded players. Parsons even made Penn State's spring depth chart on the kickoff-return team.
Parsons is the second high-profile Big Ten player to announce his opt-out decision in the past two days. On Tuesday, Rashod Bateman, Minnesota's all-conference receiver, said he would skip this season.
A projected first-round draft pick, Parsons is the first Penn State player to opt out of a potential 2020 season. Pro Football Focus called Parsons the nation's highest-graded run defender last season.
Earlier this summer, Parsons spoke glowingly about Penn State's linebacker room and his place in it. Though Parsons is the lone returning starter, Penn State has plenty of experience at the position, and Parsons sounded eager to step outside his comfort zone and lead the group.
He also set personal goals, which included winning a Big Ten title and the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker. Parsons said he wrote his goals down, just as he did in 2019.
"Everything that you put in the air, you speak into existence," he said. "Last year I wrote down my goals, and most of my goals came true. This year I'm going to write down my goals, and they're going to come true."
When Penn State returned to campus for voluntary workouts, Parsons lived with fellow linebackers Jesse Luketa and Ellis Brooks. Luketa said that he and Parsons discussed their goals almost daily. The Butkus Award was among them.
"He should have had it [last] year, but it is what it is," Luketa said. "He wants to leave this institution as decorated as he knows he can be. And going to the next level as the No. 1 defender taken off the board. Those are the conversations we have."