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James Franklin Praises Micah Parsons’ Character Ahead Of NFL Draft

With the NFL Draft just about a week away, the buzz surrounding former Penn State football star Micah Parsons just keeps on building.

The Nittany Lion will all certainly hear his name called Thursday night, but alleged “character concerns” from some league analysts mean Parsons could be anything from a top-10 selection to a late-round grab. But following Penn State’s final spring practice, James Franklin was quick to come to the linebacker’s defense.

“The thing that really jumps out with Micah is how well he’s able to retain information,” the head coach said. “How deeply he thinks about subjects like his teammates, like the organization that drafts him. Some of the messages and conversations I’ve had with Micah over the years — really impressive, thoughtful conversations.”

Parsons’ relationship with Franklin and the rest of the football program goes all the way back to late 2014 when he received an offer from the Nittany Lions. A whirlwind of commitments and decommitments later, he played two prolific years in Happy Valley before opting out of his junior season due to the pandemic.

Defensive coordinator Brent Pry, who was also heavily involved in the linebacker’s recruiting process, will travel with Franklin to Cleveland Thursday to support Parsons at the draft. He was one of the select few players invited to attend this year’s draft in person.

Franklin’s praise of Parsons didn’t just stop at his work ethic and intelligence. The head coach lauded the defenseman’s personality as well.

“His ability to have fun out at practice, his ability to have fun in meetings…I think he brings a little bit of an edge to your defense,” Franklin said. “One of the things he’s learned here…is when is it time to have fun and be silly and mess around and laugh and when is it time to lock in and be focused. Micah has learned that.”

There hasn’t been an outright mention of what Parsons’ alleged “character concerns” are, but it’s worth noting he appeared in a lawsuit filed by former teammate Isaiah Humphries in January 2020. Humphries alleged that Parsons was among a group of players who hazed him on multiple occasions over the course of his time at Penn State. Parsons wasn’t named as a defendant in the suit, however, and no charges were filed.

The linebacker himself also spoke about these concerns after Penn State’s Pro Day, defending himself and focusing on his future.

“Obviously, a lot of people have concerns about things that came up. At the end of the day, I believe that I was a kid,” Parsons said. “I was 17-18. We all made mistakes when we were 17-18. I’m not going to let it control or dictate the person I am now. I’m not going to let something that was three or four years ago dictate who I’m becoming and the father I want to be.”

He also added that “if someone is gonna judge [him] over that, [he would] rather not be in their program.” “Linebacker U” legend LaVar Arrington was also quick to come to Parsons’ defense after these character issues started circulating online.

The Nittany Lion totaled 191 tackles over the course of his two seasons at the college level, along with 6.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. He also earned consensus All-American honors his sophomore year.

We’ll know for sure how NFL organizations feel about Parsons Thursday, April 29, when the NFL Draft kicks off at 8 p.m. The defensive specialist is expected to be the first Nittany Lion off the board with teammates Jayson Oweh and Pat Freiermuth right behind him.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a senior business major from "Philadelphia" and is Onward State's social media manager. He writes about a lot of things. If you want to gain absolutely nothing, you can follow him on twitter @rjparsons9. Any "serious" inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

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