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Micah Parsons Makes Debut On ESPN’s ‘Hey, Rookie’

It’s the beginning of another NFL Draft cycle, which inevitably coincides with another former Penn State football player’s feature on ESPN’s annual special, “Hey, Rookie: Welcome To The NFL.”

The series’ first episode this spring included several cameos from Happy Valley’s own Micah Parsons. Although Parsons opted out of the Nittany Lions’ latest season, the star linebacker has continued to train vigorously ahead of the upcoming NFL Draft. 

The show’s opening scene featured the long-brewing rivalry between Parsons and former Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. Despite competing in different conferences at the collegiate level, the two former blue-chip prospects once went head-to-head on the gridiron in the Pennsylvania State Playoffs, with Pitts’ Archbishop Wood squad finishing as the victors. 

Pitts joked that Parsons, who was formerly ranked as the best tailback in the state of Pennsylvania, rushed for only 23 yards against Archbishop Wood’s stout defense. Of course, the high-octane linebacker immediately clapped back at Pitts’ rebuttal.

“Hopefully he’s in the same division as me because I’m hoping to get the one-on-one [battle] back,” Parsons said.

Despite not playing on the gridiron since 2019, Parsons arrived at the Athletes First Sports Agency training headquarters in early August to continue his technical development. In California, the All-American linebacker focused on improving his linear speed and physical form. 

“I got a lot more training than the rest of the guys,” Parsons joked. “Anytime I beat them in competition, it’s like, ‘You got an unfair advantage. You’ve been here for like three years.’ You know, everybody’s got jokes.”

From once playing as former Big Ten rivals to now training as probable highly-selected draftees, the competitive friendship between Parsons and former Ohio State gunslinger Justin Fields was also on full display during the episode. 

“Micah is definitely an extravert,” Fields said. “When he has something to say, you’re definitely going to hear it from him. “[He’s] a very competitive guy. I think he just makes everyone around him better.”

The two athletes argued who would run the faster 40-yard dash time in their upcoming Pro Days, which have since passed. In the end, Parsons finished with the upper hand, posting a 4.39 second-run in comparison to Field’s fastest attempt at 4.44 seconds. 

“You’re not faster than me. I’m not worried about you,” Parsons said to Fields while training.

While on break, the athletes embarked on a bowling tournament to spend time away from the competitive grind. In an effort to promote fairness during the team selection process, Parsons, who prides himself on being the best bowler of the group, was cursed with the last pick of the tournament in each round.

“I would say I’m a good bowler,” Parsons said. “Hopefully, I give you guys a 200 today.”

Other than the impressive display of one strike from the Harrisburg native himself, Parsons was unable to bring success to his squad, which struggled mightily against the other teams.

To end the show, the prospects enjoyed a candle-light dinner at a Californian steakhouse. During the meal, the athletes chatted about what their first financial moves as professionals would consist of. For Parsons, the humble superstar reiterated the importance of providing for his loved ones.

“I’m paying off my mom’s loans,” Parsons said. “I’m going to wipe everything clean.”

The next episode of “Hey, Rookie” is set to premiere at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20, on ESPN2. Tune in to see more of Parsons’ quest to reach the NFL Draft.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a freshman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in journalism. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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