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Former Penn State pledge Micah Parsons returns to campus Saturday
The recruitment of 5-star edge rusher Micah Parsons has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. The Nittany Lions extended a scholarship offer near the end of his freshman season, and eventually landed a verbal commitment in February 2016.
Then a sophomore, Parsons became the first member of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class. He remained on board for 14 months, but backed off his pledge April 23 following a spring game visit to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions continued to add elite talent while the Harrisburg (Pa.) High School standout expanded his collegiate horizons.
Parsons journeyed to Alabama and Nebraska this summer. He’s been to Ohio State three times since April, and now he’s heading back to Penn State.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound prospect announced Tuesday evening that he plans to attend the upcoming Nittany Lions game against Georgia State. Parsons will travel to campus alongside close friend and teammate Shaquon Anderson-Butts, a receiver who committed to Penn State on July 15.
— BLESSEDMVP (@Micah_parsons23) September 11, 2017
This is an unexpected turn of events for Penn State and Parsons, though it’s not the first surprise he’s supplied just this month. He initially intended to use an official visit at Ohio State on Oct. 28, when the Buckeyes host Penn State, but changed course and instead attended Ohio State’s home opener this past Saturday.
Man I'm having the time of my life in Columbus #GOBUCKS
— BLESSEDMVP (@Micah_parsons23) September 9, 2017
However, early excitement gave way to a dose of drama prior to his departure. Shortly after Ohio State suffered a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, Parsons responded to a tweet from Patrick Murphy of 247Sports by suggesting the Buckeyes offense might be in better hands with redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins at quarterback.
Based on reaction to his comment, many Ohio State fans agree. However, it’s not a great look while on an all-expenses paid trip to a program that hopes you’ll join a locker room that’s won a lot of games with senior J.T. Barrett behind center. Land of 10’s Jeremy Birmingham knows the dynamics in Columbus as well as anyone, so his Sunday notebook warrants attention.
“What happened Saturday night is just a teenager making a bad decision, and according to sources in Columbus, players in the Ohio State locker room were ‘pissed’ about them,” Birmingham wrote. “Does that mean Ohio State will stop recruiting Parsons? I doubt it. But it’s another significant red mark against him.”
Meanwhile on Monday, 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong placed the first and only Crystal Ball prediction for Parsons to sign with Nebraska. The Buckeyes lead with 65 percent of predictions, but this recruitment has been a wild ride and you wonder if it reached another curve this past weekend.
Parsons told me after his season opener on Aug. 26 that he was considering a postseason official visit to Penn State, but seemed unsure about attending a Nittany Lions game this fall. Now he’s headed to the team’s third game, as coaches, fans and fellow prospects in attendance will be watching closely.
Anderson-Butts repeatedly has stated that his teammate is going to end up in Penn State’s class, but it feels like there’s a long way to go here. Parsons is locked in for an official visit to Nebraska on Oct. 7, plans to use an official visit to Alabama, and a top-four list is “coming soon.”
Penn State welcomed him to campus multiple times in June, including for a 7-on-7 tournament in which he earned MVP honors. Parsons, who also stars at running back for Harrisburg, is an absolute wrecking ball on defense. As these highlights from his senior-season opener indicate, he is capable of contributing early at defensive end or linebacker:
Canada transplant John Metchie to visit for first time as offered prospect
The last time John Metchie journeyed to State College, he left with a scholarship offer. The 2019 recruit returns this weekend to watch Penn State play Georgia State under the lights at Beaver Stadium.
Metchie, a 6-3, 183-pound defensive back and receiver at St. James School (Hagerstown, Md.) told Land of 10 he’ll be in attendance. His background is among the most diverse you’ll find in college football recruiting, as Metchie was born in Taiwan, lived in Ghana until he was 6, then moved to Brampton, Ontario, in Canada.
Like Penn State players Jonathan Sutherland and Daniel Joseph, he transferred to an American prep school for a better shot at Power 5 football opportunities. This is path similar to the one taken by Nittany Lions linebacker commit Jesse Luketa.
“I am Metchie’s biggest fan. That’s my little bro,” Luketa said.
Metchie, who flashes sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, worked with receivers during a camp at Penn State on July 16. Still, members of the Nittany Lions staff explained they’re intrigued by his abilities in the defensive secondary.
“They offered me as a wide receiver and an athlete because the coaches also want to see what I can do on the other side of the ball,” Metchie said.
He’s made a major impact across the field for St. James, playing cornerback, receiver and even quarterback at times. Metchie has totaled 90 catches for 1,722 yards, 1,167 rushing yards, 98 tackles, 9 interceptions and 39 total touchdowns since 2015, according to MaxPreps.
Despite interest from college programs at defensive back, Metchie would prefer to play offense. He carries plenty of respect for Penn State receivers coach Josh Gattis.
“Coach Gattis is amazing with receivers,” Metchie said. “I like the way he shapes his receivers and teaches them techniques. He helps build big-time players at the position.”
Rutgers is his only other Power 5 offer, while Buffalo, Central Michigan, Temple and Western Michigan have also extended offers. Check out Metchie’s 2016 season highlights here:
Versatile 2019 target Marquis Wilson ‘really enjoyed’ game-day visit
Let’s stick with the 2019 recruiting cycle, but move from Metchie to Marquis Wilson, another player who commands attention on both sides of the ball. This 6-foot, 165-pound playmaker secured a Penn State offer Aug. 2, adding the Nittany Lions to a collection that includes Pitt, Syracuse and in-state Connecticut.
Wilson, a junior at Avon Old Farms (Avon, Conn.), reciprocated interest from Penn State by traveling to the program’s matchup with Pitt on Sept. 9. Joined by several family members, he expressed a very positive experience via Twitter on Monday afternoon:
— Armani (@MarquisArmani) September 11, 2017
Penn State recruiting coordinator E.J. Barthel can be seen posing with Wilson in those photos. Wilson’s reference to 109,000 fans further signals the impression a game-day visit can make on targeted prospects, as Saturday featured the school’s largest attendance since 2009.
Wilson provides potential in all three phases of the game, including special-teams returner. He averaged 20.7 yards per reception in 2016, according to MaxPreps, tallying 51 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense.
Penn State secured commitment No. 1 of the 2019 class after its 33-14 win over Pitt, landing local cornerback Keaton Ellis.