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5-star edge rusher Micah Parsons may use official visit in Happy Valley
Micah Parsons helped lead Harrisburg (Pa.) High School to a 33-14 victory against fellow perceived state championship contender Imhotep Prep (Philadelphia) on Saturday afternoon. I spent the game standing along Harrisburg’s sideline, watching the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Parsons wreak havoc as a defensive end, linebacker and running back.
Parsons, considered a 5-star recruit and the No. 5 overall talent in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, collected 8 tackles and added a 22-yard touchdown run in slightly more than two quarters of action. A combination of third-quarter leg cramping and the Cougars’ huge lead allowed him to spend much of the second half stretching and supporting teammates.
Prior to his early exit, Parsons dominated. He recorded 5 tackles, including 1 behind the line of scrimmage — in the first quarter.
“I honestly think there are very few things that he can’t do,” Harrisburg coach Calvin Everett said after the season-opening statement win.
Highlights of Parsons’ performance can be viewed here:
Following the matchup, Parsons and I shared a conversation at midfield. It began with discussing his ability to play both linebacker and defensive end in college — an aspect I wrote about at length Monday — but gradually shifted toward the widespread topic of his recruitment.
Aside from fellow former Penn State pledge Justin Fields — the class’ top-ranked quarterback — no other uncommitted recruit has received more attention leading into their senior season. Parsons, who backed off a 14-month verbal pact with the Nittany Lions on April 23, has his hands full sorting through collegiate options.
The process becomes increasingly complex now that he is on track to graduate high school early and enroll at the university of his choice in January.
“Just need to keep my grades where they need to be, stay focused and I’ll be able to enroll early,” he said of his goals in the classroom. “[Enrolling early is] big because I can get used to the offseason program, do spring ball with the team, and know where I’m at physically.”
Parsons confirmed plans to use official visits at Nebraska and Ohio State, while adding Alabama to the list of definitive destinations. He traveled to Tuscaloosa in mid-July and, although he remains uncertain of an exact date, the Crimson Tide will welcome him back to town.
That leaves two official visits for him to utilize, and Parsons is still weighing options.
Many wonder if Penn State will receive an official visit due to his extreme familiarity with the program and its proximity — just 90 miles away from his high school. Parsons said the Nittany Lions are certainly in the picture as he develops a travel schedule, and an official visit to State College could occur after the season.
If Parsons does use an official visit at Penn State in December, it would presumably be among the final — or even the final — college campuses he explores before a commitment announcement.
Harrisburg teammate Shaquon Anderson-Butts, pledged to Penn State since July 15, will attempt to bring Parsons along with him to watch Penn State play Pittsburgh on Sept. 9. Even if his friend ends up elsewhere that weekend, Anderson-Butts is confident they’ll continue to share a roster in college.
“I don’t want to spoil anything, but he’s coming to Penn State,” Anderson-Butts said. “It’s his mom’s favorite school and he wants to stay close to his mom. Another thing he takes personally is he wants to do it for his state.”
Georgia, Southern California and Florida’s Big 3 — Florida, Florida State and Miami — are other official visit possibilities.
4-star DE Jayson Oweh sets official visit for final home game
While we wait to find if Parsons will pull the trigger on an official visit to Happy Valley, the verdict is in from fellow top defensive end target Jayson Oweh.
The 6-5, 235-pound Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) standout will attend Penn State’s last home game of the 2017 season. He confirmed this plan with Land of 10 on Sunday evening, and an official visit is set for the third weekend of November, when the Nittany Lions host Nebraska.
Oweh, listed No. 7 among strongside defensive ends, initially appeared primed to make a college choice before his senior season. He visited all three finalists — Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State — in July, including the Nittany Lions’ annual Lasch Bash event.
Prior to Lasch Bash, he worked under the direction of Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer for the first time.
“It was great,” Oweh said afterward. “Love his coaching style.”
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) July 15, 2017
He journeyed to Columbus one week later, learning from Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who has emerged as a major force in this recruitment. Ohio State and Notre Dame have each hosted him twice, while Oweh has been to Penn State three times since March.
Instead of using the new early signing period (Dec. 20-22) as he previously planned, however, Oweh will announce a commitment Jan. 4 at the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Fla.
Along with Oweh and Parsons, 4-star Cleveland lineman Tyreke Smith is a remaining priority for Penn State at the position. All three players are also strongly considering Ohio State, so these pursuits shape up as pivotal Big Ten showdowns.
Nittany Lions are only Big Ten team on list for 5-star DT Ishmael Sopsher
Let’s keep our attention on the defensive line for the final section of this notebook. After examining the latest news on a pair of prized 2018 prospects, 2019 defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher now takes center stage.
This 6-5, 279-pound Amite (La.) High junior revealed a collection of college favorites Saturday afternoon, including the Nittany Lions on a list that spans three Power 5 conferences. Penn State is the only Big Team to make the cut, joining 11 other programs on a top-12 list.
Sopsher is still considering seven SEC schools: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee. The ACC is also well represented with Clemson, Florida State and Miami making the cut. Memphis rounds out the group.
A potential top overall 2019 recruit, Sopsher is currently No. 2 in 2019 composite rankings. He is views as the class’ premier defensive tackle prospect, and this is probably a substantial uphill battle for Penn State considering an abundance of contenders within his Southeast region.
Sopsher surpassed a double-digit scholarship offer total entering the 2016 season. He went on to become a first-team MaxPreps Sophomore All-American. Penn State extended an offer April 17.
Watch his sophomore-season highlights below.