From the moment he got on campus, Micah Parsons has been pleading with the coaching staff to get the football. Primarily, the five-star linebacker has been wanting a shot on Penn State’s special teams.
This spring, Parsons was briefly listed as a kickoff return man on the Nittany Lions’ 2020 depth chart. The linebackers name disappeared from the special teams depth chart just a few hours later without much of an explanation.
During an interview with 247Sports’ Barton Simmons, head coach James Franklin was asked whether or not Parsons would get an opportunity to have the football in his hands this fall. Franklin said there’s a chance.
“Yeah, I think there’s a shot,” Franklin said. “When you do it and it works, everybody says it’s awesome. When a guy sprains his toe or sprains his ankle because he’s doing that on the other side of the ball, your defensive coaches want to kill you and then the other 50 percent of the media members all call you idiots.
“And then on top of that, we’ve got one of the better, deeper running back rooms in the country. You take one of those guys off the field, it’s challenging. For us, we’ve had Micah as that off returner as a backup for awhile. As a freshman, we wanted to use him there but we couldn’t because he still had the mentality that every kick was meant to come to him.”
In just two short seasons, Parsons has developed into one of the best defensive players in the B1G and will likely be college football’s top linebacker in 2020. Already, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has labeled the rising junior as the fifth-best player available for the 2021 NFL Draft.
But because Parsons has matured and brings unbelievable athleticism to the field, Franklin isn’t ruling out the opportunity of having his linebacker see some snaps on offense or on special teams.
“He’s earned some of that trust and you know as well as I do, he can do it,” Franklin said. “There may be some things we try to do with him to get him involved.”
Below is the full clip from 247Sports:
— 247Sports (@247Sports) May 5, 2020