Parsons racked up 109 tackles, including 14 loss tackles, and five sophomore sacks last season, while also winning All-American consensus honors and the Big Ten linebacker of the year award. He was also a finalist for the Butkus Prize.
The decision is probably not an easy one for Parsons, who had two remaining qualifying seasons for 2020 and has declared his goals of winning a national championship at Penn State.
Parsons’ expected pick comes following fellow Big Ten star and Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman’s decision to skip the season to prepare for the NFL draft. These decisions come as Big Ten leaders are reportedly considering how to proceed with the 2020 season, if it is played at all. The league has yet to release its schedule and several programs have had to suspend training due to COVID-19 cases among players.
If there is a season, Penn State will feel Parsons’ absence. The Nittany Lions are ranked as the country’s No.9 preseason team, according to CBS Sports 130, after three 11-game winning seasons in the past four years. Parsons was a big part of the reason why.
The Pennsylvania native was a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018 and came in 4th in a series of 2021 NFL simulation project simulations conducted by experts at CBS Sports in June.
Parsons won places on the preseason watchlists for the Butkus Award, Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. When his decision becomes official, he will join Bateman and Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley as potential 2021 NFL Draft first-round picks who have previously opted out of the college football season.