Penn State alum sees “Ray Lewis mentality” in LB Micah Parsons

A year away from football won’t stop Penn State’s Micah Parsons from being the next “IT” linebacker. 

Micah Parsons has become an anomaly over the past year following his decision to opt-out due to COVID-19. The 246-pound linebacker had the opportunity to solidify his top 10 status in the impending NFL Draft with a strong season for Penn State.

Instead, Parsons put the needs of his young son, Malcolm, ahead of his playing career. He became one of the pivotal names to watch from a far as the 2020 college football season commenced.

Parsons now hope secure his name called early April 29. In a loaded linebacker class, names like Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramorah and Kentucky’s Jamin Davis have entered the chat for the LB1 spot.

Crazy how one move can create a ripple effect on draft night.

If one were to ask former Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney on Parsons though, he’d politely tell teams to stop overthinking the draft’s clear-cut best defender.

“You’re getting the best linebacker in the draft,” Toney told FanSided’s Matt Lombardo on the Matt Lombardo Show. “He’s going sideline to sideline. He’ll clean up other guy’s mistakes. The thing about Micah is, he’s relentless. He’s one of those once in a generation players.”

Is Parsons worth the hype?

One look at his 2019 film will show why Parsons still has the tools to be a top 20 selection. Everywhere you looked, No. 11 was there. The plays kept coming, he kept stopping them.

Parsons finished the season with 109 tackles and was an All-American. To see the upside of what he can bring to a defense, look at the Cotton Bowl film against Memphis.

A grand total of 14 tackles, two forced fumbles, two sacks and a pressure leading to an interception for a touchdown? The was the closing moments of Parsons’ career in Happy Valley.

“A downhill beast,” Toney said on Parsons’ skills But, he’s athletic enough that if you split him out wide and need him to guard a Travis-Kelce type play, he’s going to get it done.”

Parsons had one final shot to prove his top 10 status. During Penn State’s pro day, he wowed scouts with his blazing 4.39 40-time and didn’t miss a beat in drills.

Toney, who finished the 2020 season with 21 total tackles and five sacks, knew his friend left it out on the field.

“That’s my brother. We have a very unique relationship,” Toney said. “We just got done working out today, we work out together now through the Draft process.”

Where will Parsons land? No one is certain just yet. Some believe he could land with the Denver Broncos at No. 9. Others are certain a team like Washington won’t pass on him at No. 19. The clock will be counting and all Parsons can do is wait.

The future though is bright for the 6-3 defender from “Linebacker U”. What kind of player will a team be getting? Toney is certain he’s in a rare category.

“It’s crazy to see so many people questioning that he’s not a top-10 pick, and all that,” Toney said. “If you pass up on him, you’re going to regret it. He’s a Luke Kuechly, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher.”

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