The Daily Item

Linebacker Micah Parsons became the first Penn State player to be drafted during the first round of the NFL since the New York Giants took Saquon Barkley as the second overall pick in 2018.

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Parsons with the 12th overall pick during the first round of the 2021 NFL draft on Thursday in Cleveland.

In just two seasons at Penn State, Parsons accomplished enough during that span to make him one of the most anticipated prospects to come through Penn State in recent history.

Parsons opted out of the 2020 season because of concerns regarding the coronavirus.

The Harrisburg prospect landed in State College as a freshman in 2018. He played in 13 games — with one start — that season and ended the year with a team-high 83 tackles. The accomplishment was a first for any Nittany Lion freshman defender in program history.

“I just feel I am the most versatile player in this class,” Parsons said. “I can play middle linebacker; I can play outside and I can pass rush. I think there’s no place I can’t play in the linebacker spot.”

Penn State coach James Franklin and defensive coordinator Brent Pry joined Parsons in Cleveland.

Baltimore selected Parsons’ teammate Jayson Oweh at No. 31.

As a first-time starter in 2019, Parsons logged 12 starts and played in 13 contests. He again led the Nittany Lions in tackles with 109, including 14 for a loss. During Penn State’s Cotton Bowl contest against Memphis that season, Parsons tied a career-high for tackles with 14, 10 of which he recorded in the first half alone. He also added two forced fumbles and two pass breakups, and he was named Cotton Bowl defensive MVP for the performance.

During the 2019 postseason, Parsons made history as the first sophomore in conference history to claim the Big Ten’s Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award. He also received accolades as a consensus All-American selection by the NCAA, the Associated Press named him a first-team All-America selection.

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