HARRISBURG, Pa. — Micah Parsons played a pivotal role in all three phases of the game Saturday afternoon during Harrisburg High School’s season-opening 33-14 victory over Philadelphia powerhouse Imhotep Charter. Following his latest dominant performance, the 5-star prospect explained he is on track to join a college football program this winter.
Parsons, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound edge rusher, plans to enroll at the university of his choice in January.
“I’m in all my classes,” he told Land of 10. “Just need to keep my grades where they need to be, stay focused and I’ll be able to enroll early.”
It’s a big development for Parsons, considered the No. 1 weakside defensive end and No. 5 recruit in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, on and off the field.
From the perspective of his progress as a player, early enrollment increases opportunities for immediate playing time as a freshman.
“It’s big because I can get used to the offseason program, do spring ball with the team, and know where I’m at physically,” Parsons explained.
Where this self-assessment will occur remains a mystery. He previously spent 14 months pledged to Penn State but backed off the pledge April 23 and begins his senior season uncommitted.
Early enrollment would trim about a month off the recruiting cycle for Parsons, as National Signing Day falls on Feb. 7.
“It speeds up the process a little bit,” he said.
Parsons expects to utilize all five of his official visits, though only two are presently scheduled. He will travel to Nebraska for the Cornhuskers’ Oct. 7 matchup with Wisconsin, then journey to Ohio State three weeks later when the Buckeyes host Penn State.
The rest of his schedule is undetermined.
“I still have to sit down with my family and figure things out,” Parsons said.
Though he doesn’t yet know the date, Alabama will receive an official visit. He spent time in Tuscaloosa this summer, and the Crimson Tide are among teams focused on his skills at linebacker.
That group also includes Georgia, Nebraska and Southern California.
Parsons is confident he can compete at an elite level while lined up at either linebacker or defensive end. Harrisburg coach Calvin Everett feels the same way.
“I honestly think there are very few things that he can’t do,” Everett said.
I examined this aspect of Parsons’ game while assembling Land of 10’s inaugural edition of 2018 Pennsylvania prospect rankings, which he topped:
Defensive strategists can expand their imagination with a talent like Parsons, implementing him in a three-point stance or stand-up position in a slew of spots that keeps the opposition uncomfortable. I don’t see the average Power 5 offensive tackle handling his quickness, especially if his pre-snap positioning is unpredictable. His competitive drive is off the charts, and leads me to believe he can make an impact on any college football field next fall. As a freshman, Parsons could pressure the quarterback multiple times per game and rank among team leaders in tackles for loss. Beyond that, as he becomes increasingly indoctrinated with a program’s culture and schematics, Parsons projects as a double-digit sack threat moving toward an imminent NFL payday if he remains on track.
Penn State has prioritized defensive end during its recruitment of Parsons, though he feels the staff has an open mind. The Nittany Lions welcomed him to campus multiple times in June, including for a 7-on-7 tournament where he earned MVP honors while leading Harrisburg to the title.
Teammate and Penn State commit Shaquon Anderson-Butts, a receiver who snagged a touchdown Saturday, firmly believes Parsons will spend his collegiate career in a Penn State uniform.
“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.”
Anderson-Butts plans to visit State College on Sept. 9 when the Nittany Lions welcome Pitt to campus. He hopes to sit alongside Parsons in Beaver Stadium during the game, though Parsons couldn’t confirm if that would be the case.
Despite the school’s close proximity and his familiarity with facilities and coaches, Parsons remains interested in taking an official visit to Penn State, specifically mentioning the possibility of a trip in December.
If this outlook comes to fruition, it would give James Franklin and Nittany Lions assistants a chance to issue one final pitch to Parsons within weeks of his college enrollment.
Parsons again showcased his versatility Saturday, lining up in several roles. He competed on defense as a hand-in-the-dirt end and linebacker, took snaps at running back and receiver on offense, and filled a few roles on special teams, including duties as America’s most intimidating high-school punter.
“Wherever we need him is what he’s willing to do,” Everett said.
More from @Micah_parsons23, folks. Speed kills off the defensive edge and the 6-foot-3, 235-pound prospect has it.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) August 26, 2017
Parsons dealt with a couple physical ailments Saturday, limiting him to just a few snaps in the second half, which was probably due in large part to his team’s comfortable lead that expanded to 33-0. Impact with an opponent’s helmet caused his hand to swell, while cramps afflicted his right leg.
“Football is a mental game. You’re going to get a lot of bumps and bruises but you’ve got to keep going, and that’s the mentality I go for,” he said.
Parsons finished with 8 tackles, a pass deflection and a 22-yard touchdown run in barely more than two quarters. He collected 5 tackles, including 1 for loss, in the first quarter.
“Micah belongs where he’s at in the rankings,” Anderson-Butts said. “It’s no hype. He can play running back, receiver, outside linebacker, defensive line. Anywhere you put him on the field, he’s going to do it with the best of them.”
— Ryan Snyder (@RivalsSnyder) August 26, 2017
Given that scouting report, it comes as no surprise college recruiters are in constant communication with the Harrisburg football offices.
How many reach out on a daily basis?
“It’s not a bad thing, but too many,” Everett said. “He’s taking everything in stride. He’s enjoying it and having fun with it, as a 17-year-old kid should.”
Parsons knows noise surrounds him, whether it’s in his hometown or on social media. Those few hours Saturday he spent hunting down running backs and powering through tackles provided a reprieve, part of a tunnel-vision approach Parsons plans to implement in an attempt to deliver Harrisburg its first state championship.
“I just ignore all that stuff and stay focused on this. This is what maters,” he said. “Winning big games, being there to help my teammates and keeping my grades up. Those are the important things.”
The post 5-star DE Micah Parsons plans to enroll early, eyes official visits to Alabama and Penn State appeared first on Land of 10.
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