Penn State All-American Micah Parsons is opting out of the 2020 season because of concerns about COVID-19.
The junior linebacker made his announcement with a social media pos t Thursday. He will be eligible to enter the 2021 NFL draft and is already expected to be high first-round selection.
Later in the day, Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, another potential first-round draft pick, informed Hurricanes coach Miami Diaz that he would not play this season.
Parsons, 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, and Rousseau, 6-6, 265, join Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman as prominent college players who have decided to skip the season and concentrate on preparing for professional careers.
Parsons led the Nittany Lions with 109 tackles, and had 14 tackles for loss and five sacks as a sophomore last season. He ended his college career with maybe is best game. In a Cotton Bowl victory against Memphis, Parsons had 14 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles.
“As I consider all my options for the 2020 season, I decided I needed to make a choice not for myself, but for my son and those nearest to me,” Parsons said in a video released on Instagram. “While I felt safe with the safety standards to return to Penn State for workouts, the potential risk to the health and well-being of my son far outweighed my urge to play football this season.”
Rousseau was second in the nation in sacks last season as a redshirt freshman with 15.5. The third-year sophomore is eligible to enter the NFL draft next year.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Rousseau played two games in 2018 as a freshman before breaking his ankle and taking a redshirt. He had a breakout season in 2019, finishing strong with 10.5 sacks in the second half.
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