Penn State will move forward without All-America LB Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons won't be returning to the Penn State football program this fall.
Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin confirmed the news during his media availability Wednesday, saying the time Parsons spent away from the program the past two months made a reunion "complicated."
"That won't be happening and we understand the decision," Franklin said when asked about Parsons rejoining the team. "There was a legitimate possibility for (a return) to happen, but as we continued to talk and continued to work with him, the timing of it made it challenging.
"He had been gone for so long and in California training. That made it more complicated."
Parsons decided to opt out of his junior season two months ago, just before the Big Ten postponed its season on Aug. 11. He cited family concerns over COVID-19, particularly for his young son, and the desire to prepare early for the NFL Draft.
Parsons is still pegged as a potential early, first-day pick in the draft.
He is a reigning All-American and Big Ten Linebacker of the Year.
The Harrisburg High product became a national force as last season progressed and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to college football's top linebacker. His pursuit speed and instincts were reminiscent of previous Penn Star linebackers such as LaVar Arrington and Paul Posluszny as he totaled 109 tackles with 14 for loss and five sacks.
And so, fittingly enough, his final game in a Penn State uniform was his best. He dominated the Cotton Bowl victory over Memphis with 14 tackles, two forced fumbles and two sacks to earn MVP honors.
Parsons was the highest-rated recruit of James Franklin's Penn State tenure. He was a coveted 5-star prospect and the No. 5 overall talent in 247Sports' 2018 composite rankings.
Follow Matt Allibone on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.