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Penn State Football: Parsons Hoping For One Last Carry

on October 08, 2019 6:40 PM

Micah Parsons has been so good at linebacker for Penn State that most people forget he didn't even play linebacker in high school.

In fact, the former defensive end and running back racked up over 1,000 rushing yards on just over 110 carries during his senior season at Harrisburg. A decent chunk of offense for a player who hasn't touched the ball in over two years.

Parsons, who has been seen practicing catching kicks, has long been on Penn State's list of potential returners this season but has yet to get his chance.

He's hoping that moment will come soon.

"I think I'm getting close," Parsons said on Tuesday of returning kicks. "Coach [Joe] Lorig is just making sure I'm ready. I practice every week. I'm just going to keep getting better with [running backs coach] Ja'Juan [Seider], how to fit in the scheme, and one day, something happens, get in the game and get my kick returns. Live the dream."

Parsons might be hopeful for his chance, but history isn't really on his side at Penn State. Former linebacker Koa Farmer is the only linebacker under James Franklin to intentionally return kicks. Prior to that Bill O'Brien famously gave linebacker Gerald Hodges a chance to return kicks, that experiment lasting a single 12-yard return.

Of course, Micah Parsons is not your ordinary athlete, but he is also happy to chip in however he can. Even if that means jumping in on the offensive side of the ball.

As a matter of fact, he's dying for just a single carry, a throwback to the good old days of high school.

"I'm definitely real itchy to get the ball," Parsons said with a laugh. "I just want one. If I can just get one carry or one kickoff return. I'll be happy. I won't ask again. Every time I hear third-and-1, this time they could throw me in there, get us one yard -- once that day comes, I'll never ask again.

"I could definitely get goal line package speed. I could block, too, if I need to block," Parsons added, again laughing.

The bad news, there is even less precedent at Penn State for a linebacker to get the ball. A not-too-quick run through the record book indicates not a single offensive carry for a defensive player over the past 10 years. [Although low volume stat keeping is notoriously sketchy.}

But then, yet again, Micah Parsons isn't your ordinary athlete. So only time will tell if his dream will come true.

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