Penn State star Micah Parsons opts out, declares for 2021 NFL Draft

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Nittany Lions star Micah Parsons announced Thursday that he is opting out of the 2020 college football season and declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Parsons, a junior linebacker, becomes the latest college football star to opt-out of the upcoming football season due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota Golden Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman and Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, both projected first-round picks next year, previously announced they won’t play this year.

Penn State LB Micah Parsons declares for 2021 NFL Draft

Parsons, a five-star recruit in the 2018 class, came to Penn State with plenty of hype and he exceeded it. The 6-foot-3 linebacker earned first-team Freshman All-American honors in 2018, showing flashes of greatness.

The defensive star took his game to another level in 2019. Parsons recorded 109 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, five pass deflections and forced four fumbles in 13 games.

After such a dominant sophomore season, he quickly racked up the accolades. Parsons was named the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, a first-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten and won Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP.

A projected top-10 pick in our first 2021 NFL Draft mock, the success we’ve seen from Parsons at the college level is just a sampling of what he can do in the NFL.

Micah Parsons is an elite NFL Draft prospect

NFL teams will love Parsons’ production, even if it only came in two seasons. What scouts will love even more is his jaw-dropping athleticism.

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman rated Parsons as one of the best athletes in the nation with a variety of measurables that will make him a sensation at the NFL Scouting Combine. Parson’s 40 time (4.43) is absurd for his size. He also squats 575 and timed at a 4.24 in his pro agility test.

The NFL is looking for linebackers who can cover tight ends and running backs, blow up plays in the backfield and be a stopper everywhere on the field. While Parsons game might need to develop more, he has all the traits of an All-Pro linebacker at the next level.