Examining Penn State Football’s ROI from 2018 recruiting Class

Wide receiver Justin Shorter #6 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Justin Shorter #6 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Micah Parsons, Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

2.  LB Micah Parsons 

Micah Parsons’ recruitment was a bit of a strange one, and some may even say Penn State Football did not get out of him what they might have thought.

But, if it were not for COVID-19, Parsons does not opt out of his junior season, and would have been back as a menace for the Nittany Lions defense in 2020.

Parsons figures to be a lock to be a top 10 pick in April’s NFL Draft, made even more impressive by the fact he only played two seasons of linebacker after being a defensive end in high school. He came to Happy Valley a five-star prospect and ranked as the fifth best player in the country according to 247sports.

In two seasons he collected 191 total tackles, six and a half sacks, six forced fumbles and five pass breakups. It was fitting that maybe his best game in the blue and white came in what would be his last game, winning defensive MVP in the 2019 Cotton Bowl victory. His presence was missed sorely last season, as it was hard not to watch the defense and think, ‘Parsons makes that play.’

The Harrisburg native was undoubtedly a superior athlete, but Penn State Football’s staff deserves credit for developing Parsons as a linebacker and preparing him to be a top 10 pick. He now becomes the latest face of ‘Linebacker U’ wearing the infamous #11.

Much like Saquon Barkley, Parsons will do wonders for Franklin and the Nittany Lions recruiting when his name is called early on in the draft.

Parsons would have been in line to win awards and maybe even be up for a few Heisman votes had he played in 2020, he was and is that good.

Honorable Mention Home Runs 

Parsons and Freiermuth take the cake as obvious players that came in as big recruits and leave as early NFL Draft picks. However, they are not the only ones who have made an impact and will continue to make an impact in 2021 and beyond.

Rasheed Walker – Left tackle Rasheed Walker announced earlier this month he will be returning for 2021, making that his third season as a starter. At six-foot-six and 310 pounds he figures to be a early round draft pick when he does enter the NFL Draft, however can improve a bit and get stronger, and will be helped by an extra year in college.

He is a former top 100, four-star recruit out of the DMV and even through line coaching changes, has developed into everything Penn State Football could have hoped for.

Jayson Oweh – Oweh came to State College as a top 100, four-star recruit according to 247sports but despite his high ranking, was a risk after only playing two seasons of football in high school.

Oweh, as we have seen is just a freak athlete, however Penn State Football’s staff did a great job turning him into a force off the edge and making him a well rounded players who was great against the run as well as rushing the passer. He failed to record a sack last season and is now off to the NFL, but despite his struggles is predicted to be a 1st round pick in April.

Jahan Dotson – Dotson seemed he may have been on track to be a miss in this class, however a massive breakout season in 2020 that saw him catch 52 passes for 884 yards and eight touchdowns makes him a home run. He shocked many when he announced he will be back next season, meaning he will once again be the focal point of the offense and could be a contender to win the Biletnikoff Award, awarded to the nations best wide receiver.