Penn State's leading tackler could have ended up at Ohio State.

Sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons, who has 75 tackles through 10 games, was once recruited by the Buckeyes. But the pursuit of the Pennsylvania native ended in late 2017, filled with drama.

The Buckeyes were reported to have stopped recruiting Parsons over a self-reported, minor NCAA violation. When Parsons visited Ohio State for its game against Oklahoma in 2017, he took a picture with analyst Kirk Herbstreit on the set of ESPN's College GameDay program. Herbstreit is a former Ohio State quarterback.

But Parsons' father later told Ohio State's student newspaper that he thought the recruitment ended due to a tweet by Parsons that said Dwayne Haskins Jr. should start over J.T. Barrett, who was then in his final season as the Buckeyes' quarterback.

I would and his name is @dh_simba7 https://t.co/MZGrGyvPt0

— BLESSEDMVP (@Micah_Parsons11) September 10, 2017

His performance on the field has been much easier to decipher.

“Micah Parsons is as talented as there is again in the conference,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said this week.

Parsons is among the 50 former blue-chip recruits on Penn State's roster, the second-most in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, prompting Day to refer to Saturday's matchup as a “talent-equated game.”

Parsons made an impact as a freshman when he led the Nittany Lions with 83 tackles and earned an all-Big Ten honorable-mention selection by media members, although it wasn't until this month that Penn State coach James Franklin observed that Parsons had only become more confident since his debut.

Two years after his recruitment, Parsons said he harbors no ill feelings toward Ohio State and remains in contact with several of its top players, including running back J.K. Dobbins and defensive end Chase Young. They often exchange messages on Instagram or other social media apps.

“You support all athletes across the country,” Parsons told reporters following the Nittany Lions' win over Indiana last week. “There's no hate.”

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman