It has been a crazy couple of days for Penn State on the recruiting trail, but this is by far the biggest story: Five-star defensive end prospect Micah Parsons, a Harrisburg product who is a consensus Top-10 player in the Class of 2018, announced last night that he has decommitted from Penn State.


This is a tough one for Penn State, which badly needs a crop of defensive ends in the 2018 class who can play sooner rather than later. Parsons is also the top player in Pennsylvania this year, and Ohio State wants him badly. So does Alabama, which has conceded he can play some offense in Tuscaloosa, if that’s where he chooses to go. Penn State climbed to the top spot in a few of the top recruiting services’ team rankings in the early going for 2018, and that’s largely based off the momentum of getting Parsons to initially commit in the first place.

Now, the Lions are left picking up the pieces, and while it’s likely they’ll get some really good prospects to fill the void, they aren’t going to find a better one this time. There are no better prospects at that position that Parsons.

Like it seemed to go with Wyoming Valley West tackle Chris Bleich, who decommited from Penn State last week, Parsons gave his verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions a long time ago, then decided that the recruiting process might be fun and that he’d like to go through it. Unlike with Bleich, it seems as if the door remains open for Parsons to commit again to Penn State someday.

And there are some reasons to think he may: For starters, another big season from the Nittany Lions will make them an even more established program, and they’re still going to need a star defensive end in 2018. That’s a position where a big-time prospect can come into the program and play immediately. Another thing to consider: Parsons’ good friend and former teammate at Harrisburg High is Damion Barber, who committed to Penn State as part of the 2017 class. Likely, there always is going to be a draw to Penn State with Barber there. Parsons also said in his statement that Penn State remains one of his top schools.

It very well could be that he just wants to go through the process, figure things out, reaffirm that Penn State is where he wants to be, and ultimatley, recommit closer to signing day. He wouldn’t be the first to do that.

But…it more often than not doesn’t work that way. My experience is, if you decommit, you have another program in mind. You like something more than what you had. And that’s fair. Again, these are teenagers. They generally don’t really know what they want, and this is a life-impacting decision. When they’re 16, the overwhelming majority off high school students don’t know what they want to do when they’re 22. So, very difficult to ask Micah Parsons or Chris Bleich to know.

In any event, Micah Parsons just made the run-up to signing day a lot more interesting.