Micah Parsons — Penn State’s highest-ranked recruit in 10 years — stared intently at the Lasch Building ceiling with 365 pounds on his back and the nerve to push through.
As rap music blared loudly during Wednesday’s max day, running back Miles Sanders yelled words of encouragement in Parson’s face while a horde of teammates crowded around. Meanwhile, Penn State head coach James Franklin stood on a bench in the background, watching with a smile as the Harrisburg product went to work.
Parsons — the No. 5 prospect in the country, according to 247 Sports — looked the part. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound machine ripped off 13 reps of 365 pounds. The 13th rep was a struggle, but he roared through it, garnering hugs and applause from his fellow Nittany Lions.
To the mob of media members in attendance, Parsons was impressive. To Penn State strength coach Dwight Galt, it was more of the same.
“Every time he kind of does something great everyone is like, ‘Wow,’” Galt said, “and I’m like, ‘Did you watch his high school film? Why are you surprised?’”
After the 30th of 32 winter workouts on Penn State’s schedule, Galt had nothing but glowing remarks for Parsons, one of six freshmen who enrolled in January.
Galt said the No. 1 recruit in Pennsylvania can run and jump, and he’s just as powerful as they thought. “He’s got all the ingredients that we would expect from him,” the coach added.
But perhaps more importantly, Galt has been thrilled with Parsons’ work ethic and attitude.
Not to say that should come as a surprise, but the blue-chip recruit had a long and winding road to Penn State.
He committed to the Nittany Lions, decommitted, named his dog “Brutus,” looked like he was a sure-fire Buckeye and picked Penn State in the end. During that span, Parsons was polarizing on social media, and in his early signing day press conference, Franklin jokingly said there will be “a number of pages” dedicated to Parsons’ recruitment in memoirs the coach will write when “retired and hopefully sitting on a beach somewhere.”
Oh, and he’s also wearing LaVar Arrington’s No. 11. Expectations are undoubtedly high.
But by all accounts, Parsons left his ego in high school. In Galt’s words, “When you come up here, the stars disappear.”
“Instead of being the five-star, sixth-ranked kid in the country, he became one of the guys,” Galt said. “He works just like everyone else, and he’s fit in really well. Not a big talker, but he’s extremely motivated to be the best player he can be. So it’s been a pleasure.
“He just freaking wants to be a part to help us anyway he can, and that’s been the part that everybody has been really pleased about.”