Micah Parsons’ de-commitment from Penn State no surprise, Tommy Stevens impresses, and more
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The Parsons Project
It probably should come as no surprise that Penn State’s top 2018 recruit, 5-star defensive end Micah Parsons, announced Sunday on Twitter that he is reopening his recruitment.
? hardest decision I had to make but pic.twitter.com/s0J47fi1iC
— #blessed⭐️MVP™ (@Micah_parsons23) April 24, 2017
Judging from dispatches from various outlets, this appeared to be brewing for months.
Parsons, who according to 247Sports is the nation’s No. 3 recruit and the top guy at his position, gave PSU a verbal commitment last February.
But on Dec. 31 he tweeted out a list of five other schools he was considering — Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, USC and Georgia. Then, in mid-January, Oregon offered him.
“I’m definitely going to look at Oregon,” he told Pennlive.com’s Brian Linder at the time. “They’re a team I grew up watching.”
Parsons later reconsidered, but in February he received an offer from Notre Dame. And earlier this month he told Scout.com’s Brian Dohn that he intended to make official visits to Penn State, Ohio State and Georgia.
He also caused a stir when he named his dog Brutus (an apparent homage to the Buckeyes mascot), and visited Ohio State for its spring game on April 15.
He was on hand for Penn State’s Blue-White Game on Saturday, and 2017 recruits Lamont Wade and Fred Hansard tweeted out their support for him.
Think @Micah_parsons23 made a good decision with him committing way too early, he's still a kid & still has a whole season, still home here!
— Lamont Wade (@Goony_38) April 24, 2017
I 100% respect his decision because I've also had to make a big decision like that. Hope he comes back and sees why PSU is the place to be ?
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) April 24, 2017
Another member of the ’18 class, Isaiah Humphries, appeared to be critical of Parsons, but then clarified his tweet.
— Isaiah (@TheHumphries23) April 24, 2017
Nah this ain't about you, this is about everyone in general, not just recruits, or commits or fans. This is bigger then that. U still fam ✊? https://t.co/H2RvSzCuRP
— Isaiah (@TheHumphries23) April 24, 2017
Tommy, can you hear me?
David Jones of Pennlive.com posed a question after the Blue-White Game that might sound absurd: Does Penn State have the Big Ten’s best two quarterbacks in Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens?
Jones asked because Stevens enlivened a dull spring game by completing 17 of 24 passes for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns while playing a half in the Blue’s 26-0 defeat of the White.
The asterisks, of course, are many. He was facing overmatched backups, and the QBs were not supposed to be touched (though defensive end Shareef Miller did level Billy Fessler with a blindside hit in the first half, apparently after being pushed from behind).
But as Jones noted, Stevens, who will be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, looked confident. And certainly everyone seems to believe in him. Coach James Franklin said, as he has before, that the Lions have two quarterbacks with whom they can win.
There was also this, from defensive coordinator Brent Pry:
“Tommy Stevens, to me, 75 percent of the programs out there, he’s a starter.”
Well, maybe. He has never played in a pressure situation. But to his credit Stevens has remained at the ready, knowing he is one play from hitting the field. As he put it:
“You could probably imagine, it’s tough at times (sitting and watching). But I try not to make this about me. I don’t want it to be about me. I just come in, do my job, help this team win and do whatever I can.”
Sign of the times
Mike Poorman of Statecollege.com counted 21 players who were held out of Saturday’s scrimmage, including star running back Saquon Barkley and fellow first-stringers tight end Mike Gesicki, cornerback Grant Haley, safety Marcus Allen and middle linebacker Jason Cabinda.
In Poorman’s mind, that’s indicative of how far the program has come since the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal, and the resultant NCAA sanctions.
Consider that those five players have a combined 121 career starts. And that the entire team had combined for 132 going into 2012, the first post-Sandusky season.
And consider that until the roster was allowed a full complement of 85 players that it was unthinkable that so many players could be held out because of injury, as was the case with many of the other 16 guys who did not play.