The unpredictable recruitment of 5-star recruit Micah Parsons reached its conclusion Wednesday with a familiar destination. The Harrisburg (Pa.) High School senior announced he will attend Penn State, providing the Nittany Lions with a massive dose of momentum as college football’s first early signing period gets underway.
Parsons, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound edge rusher, previously spent 14 months pledged to Penn State prior to an April 23 de-commitment. He reopened his recruitment one day after attending the Nittany Lions spring game, expressing interest in exploring other college options with a clear conscience.
Micah Parsons signs with Penn State
It’s official! Five-star recruit Micah Parsons has signed with… pic.twitter.com/67yxlMnTxc
— Penn State football (@psufootball) December 20, 2017
While Penn State moved forward to assemble one of college football’s most talented 2018 classes, Parsons spent eight months assessing an array of options. He used all five of his official visits this season, traveling to Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Penn State.
Parsons wrapped up his visit itinerary last weekend with a trip to Georgia, where he received an inside look at the freshly anointed SEC champions. His stay in Athens included interaction with Bulldogs quarterback commit Justin Fields, a fellow 5-star talent who also de-committed from Penn State last spring.
It seems his history and familiarity with the Nittany Lions was simply too much for any other program to overcome. Parsons spent the weekend of Dec. 8-10 back on campus for an official visit, surrounded by 14 members of the Penn State class.
Several of those visitors expressed confidence that Parsons was on track to rejoin the group.
“Micah isn’t a stranger to State College, so I’m looking forward to his commitment on signing day because our family is about to get better,” Nittany Lions linebacker pledge Jesse Luketa said.
Parsons, a finalist for U.S. Army All-American Bowl Player of the Year, initially received a scholarship offer from Penn State during his freshman year. He ultimately spent nearly half of those following three years committed to the Nittany Lions.
Parsons pledged to Penn State in February 2016, just midway through his high school football career. He was the first member of a class now listed inside the top 5 of the 247Sports 2018 composite rankings.
Naturally, the relationship between Parsons and Penn State underwent some strain following his departure. There was social media backlash from frustrated fans, and perhaps some feelings were hurt on both ends of the equation, but that bridge was never burned.
“You know, we never said that wasn’t going to be the place. He just wanted a little peace,” his father, Terrence, told Land of 10 in September. “Before he de-committed, he reached out to Coach [James] Franklin and said, ‘If I de-commit, is my offer still on the table?’ Coach Franklin said, ‘Until you tell us you don’t want to come here, your offer is still on the table.’
“Regardless of whatever my son’s been through, Franklin and his staff have never wavered. Through it all, they’re still in his corner.”
Parsons becomes the third 5-star prospect in this class, joining receiver Justin Shorter and running back Ricky Slade. Considered the No. 2 defensive end and No. 4 overall prospect in composite rankings, Parsons represents a pivotal pickup for James Franklin, who posted an impressive success rate with top in-state talent this cycle.
Parsons secured 124 tackles, including 37.5 for loss, and 23 sacks during the past two seasons at Harrisburg. He helped the team cruise through its 2017 regular season unbeaten, and thrived on offense while making a case for consideration as Pennsylvania’s premier running back. His senior campaign included 1,239 rushing yards (11.4 per carry) and 29 offensive touchdowns.
He told Land of 10 this fall Penn State is among programs discussing a potential role on both sides of the ball. Parsons should have a chance to immediately impact the Nittany Lions’ defensive front, which also officially added top-10 tackle PJ Mustipher on Wednesday.
Franklin and his staff now await commitment announcements from another pair of blue-chip defensive ends. Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith are both scheduled to publicly reveal their respective choice Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game, with indications pointing toward Oweh as the more likely addition.
Watch Parsons’ senior-season highlight video here: