Parsons, Rousseau Opt Out of 2020 season
Two of college football's dominant defensive stars announced Thursday that they will opt out of the 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons announced his decision to opt out on Instagram, citing the health of his son as the key reason that he will graduate from Penn State in December.
"As I consider all my options for the 2020 season, I decided I needed to make a choice – not for myself, but for my son and those dearest to me. While I felt safe with the health and the safety standards as we returned to Penn State for workouts, the potential risk to the health and well-being of my son far outweighed my urge to play football this season.
"Therefore, I decided to opt out of the 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft."
Our Big Noon Kickoff crew ranked Parsons the third best defender in college football heading into 2020, and his decision to opt out of the 2020 season is arguably the biggest individual news of the offseason.
After being named First Team Freshman All-American in 2018, Parsons ascended to First Team All-American last season after leading the Nittany Lions with 109 tackles – including 14 tackles for a loss – to go along with 5 sacks, 5 pass deflections, 4 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
He was also named the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten at the conclusion of the season.
In what would be the final game of his college career, Parsons tallied 14 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 pass deflections in last year's Cotton Bowl.
For his efforts, Parsons was named Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP.
In his announcement, Parsons thanked the university for its support during his two years on campus
"Dear Penn State – I'd like to begin by saying thank you. You've given me an opportunity of a lifetime ... You all allowed me to grow into the young man that I have always wanted to be. Before arriving on campus, I was only a kid from Harrisburg with a dream.
"My dream was to receive a degree from a prestigious institution and prepare for the opportunity to play at the highest level – the NFL. My opportunity has finally arrived."
Joining Parsons in the 2021 NFL Draft will be Miami star defensive end Gregory Rousseau.
Rousseau's 15.5 sacks were second-most in the FBS last season, only a single sack behind Ohio State superstar Chase Young, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Our Big Noon Kickoff crew ranked Rousseau the fifth best defender in the land heading into the 2020 season.
This is a developing story.