Micah Parsons could become the first Penn State linebacker taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since LaVar Arrington in 2000.

The Harrisburg native says his time in Happy Valley helped him change from a boy to a man.

“You know I learned a lot about myself,” Parsons said. “I’ve actually been through a lot at Penn State in my two and a half years.”

Parsons arrived at Penn State after some turmoil in high school. The five-star recruit transferred in his junior season from Central Dauphin to Harrisburg High School. He verbally committed to Penn State after receiving an offer after his freshman season; he then decommitted to explore other offers and eventually recommitted to Penn State.

“Coach [James] Franklin and Coach [Brent] Pry mean the world to me,” Parsons said. “They never gave up on me, even when things hit the turmoil in high school.”

He was asked by the coaches to change to linebacker and only started one game as a freshman. Despite the lack of starting experience, he led the team in tackles in 2018. In his second season, he was named the top linebacker in the Big Ten.

Parsons put the team above his own interests, and made the most of the position his team needed him to fill.

“The hardest thing that I had to swallow is that you can’t be like everyone, you have to separate yourself from the pack,” Parsons said of his time at Penn State. “You have to be different than a lot of your friends you can’t choose to go out every night. You have to be selective, you have to take school a lot more serious than you think and I think that’s one of my more proud moments when I graduated from Penn State.”

The Parsons family set one goal for Micah before he left for college: get his degree. Micah graduated Penn state with a degree in criminal justice in just two and a half years.

“I was super excited about that,” Parsons said. “I think that’s something that I learned about myself. If you want to go on and you want to separate, you can’t be like everyone else. You can’t do everything else everyone else does.”

Want to hear more about Micah’s journey to the NFL? You’ll have to listen to Episode 1 of The Sports Extra Podcast releasing on Thursday, April 22nd. Podcast Co-Host Allie Berube sits down with Micah Parsons one-on-one to talk in depth about his journey to the NFL Draft. The pair talk through everything from his high school transfer, to what he learned at Penn State and even his two personalities (one named Sace).