Micah Parsons
refer to caption
Parsons with the Cowboys in 2021
No. 11 – Dallas Cowboys
Position:Outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1999-05-26) May 26, 1999 (age 23)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school:Harrisburg (PA)
College:Penn State (2018–2020)
NFL Draft:2021 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2022
Pass deflections:6
Forced fumbles:6
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Micah Aaron Parsons (born May 26, 1999) is an American football outside linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). Parsons played college football at Penn State, where he was named a consensus All-American, the Butkus–Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, and the Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP as a sophomore in 2019, before being drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year following the 2021 season.

Early years

Parsons was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on May 26, 1999. He attended Central Dauphin High School for his freshman and sophomore years, before transferring to Harrisburg High School where he started at both defensive end and running back.

As a freshman, he tallied 121 tackles for loss, and 18.5 sacks. As a junior, he collected 69 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks.

As a senior, Parsons posted 1,239 rushing yards, 27 rushing touchdowns (tied for ninth in the state), 99 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns. He racked up 55 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 10+12 sacks and one interception.[1] Parsons also played varsity basketball.[2]

He was a five-star recruit and was ranked #4 in his class by 247Sports.com and #7 by ESPN.[3][4][5] Parsons was recruited by Nebraska, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Alabama and Penn State. On December 19, it was reported that Ohio State had committed NCAA violations because the university allowed him on the set of ESPN's College GameDay to take a picture with analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Due to the fact that Herbstreit was a former Ohio State University quarterback, it was a violation of NCAA rules as recruits are not allowed to have contact with members of the media associated with former student-athletes. As a result, Ohio State agreed to no longer recruit Parsons.[6]

Penn State University offered Parsons a football scholarship after just four games of his freshman season and he initially committed in the spring of 2016, before decommitting for a while and committing again on December 20, 2017. He graduated Harrisburg High School seven months early to expedite the enrollment process.[7][8][9]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Micah Parsons
Harrisburg, PA Harrisburg HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 4.66 Dec 20, 2017 
Recruiting star ratings: ScoutN/A   Rivals:
5/5 stars
5/5 stars
   ESPN grade: 91
Overall recruiting rankings:
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "2018 Team Ranking". Rivals.com.

College career

Parsons playing for Penn State in 2019.
Parsons playing for Penn State in 2019.

After committing to Penn State, Parsons was informed by head coach James Franklin that he would start his Penn State career at middle linebacker rather than defensive end, which he played in high school. Franklin also announced that Parsons would be in contention for the starting job even though he was a true freshman.[10] In his freshman year, Parsons only started one out of 13 games for the Nittany Lions, but managed to lead the team in tackles with 82, while also making 4 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and 2 forced fumbles. He became the first Nittany Lion to ever lead the team in tackles as a freshman. He started at outside linebacker against Rutgers University, after junior linebacker Cam Brown was disciplined because of a rules violation incident, with Parsons making 7 tackles (2 for loss) and a strip-sack. He had 14 tackles (one for loss) and a strip-sack against the University of Kentucky in the 2019 Citrus Bowl. He finished second in the Big Ten Freshman of the Year voting behind wide receiver Rondale Moore.

Prior to the start of his sophomore season, Parsons was named to the Butkus Award preseason watch list. He started 12 out of 13 games at middle linebacker, totaling 109 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks, 26 quarterback hurries, five deflected passes, and four forced fumbles. Parsons went on to be named the Butkus–Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year (given to the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year) and a consensus All-American.[11] Parsons was named the 2019 Cotton Bowl Classic defensive MVP after recording 14 tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles.[12]

He opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and declined his remaining years of college eligibility in favor of making himself available to the NFL in the 2021 draft.[13] Despite leaving Penn State early to enter the NFL, Parsons completed his degree in criminology and graduated from Penn State in 2021.[14]

College statistics

Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Interceptions
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck FF FR Yds TD Int Yds TD PD
2018 Penn State 13 1 82 47 35 1.5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019 Penn State 13 13 109 52 57 5.0 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
2020 Penn State Opted out due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Career 26 14 191 99 92 6.5 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 5

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 3+18 in
(1.91 m)
246 lb
(112 kg)
31+12 in
(0.80 m)
11 in
(0.28 m)
4.39 s 1.59 s 2.58 s 4.40 s 6.96 s 34.0 in
(0.86 m)
10 ft 6 in
(3.20 m)
19 reps
All values from Pro Day[15][16]


Parsons was selected in the first round (12th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL Draft.[17] He signed his four-year rookie contract, worth $17 million, on June 9, 2021.[18] In response to DeMarcus Lawrence breaking his foot in practice, before week 2, Dallas converted Parsons back to his high school position of defensive end where he saw immediate success, particularly as a pass rusher. In Week 8, Parsons had 11 tackles, including four for loss in a 20–16 win over the Vikings, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week.[19] From Week 9 to Week 14, Parsons recorded at least 1 sack in six straight games. His 12 sacks in his first 13 career games are the fourth-most by a rookie in NFL history behind only Julius Peppers (13), Reggie White (13) and Leslie O'Neal (12.5). Parsons would finish with 84 total tackles, 13 sacks and three forced fumbles. He was voted into the Pro Bowl, named 1st Team All-Pro by the AP, and was the unanimous Defensive Rookie of the Year.


In Week 5, Parsons had two sacks, five tackles, and a tackle for loss in a 22–10 win over the Rams, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week.[20]

He was named a 1st Team All-Pro by the AP at the end of the year.

NFL career statistics

Regular season

Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Interceptions
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck FF FR Yds TD Int Yds TD PD
2021 DAL 16 16 84 64 20 13.0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2022 DAL 17 17 65 42 23 13.5 3 3 36 1 0 0 0 3
Career 33 33 149 106 43 26.5 6 3 36 1 0 0 0 6


Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Interceptions
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck FF FR Yds TD Int Yds TD PD
2021 DAL 1 1 9 3 6 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2022 DAL 2 2 7 4 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Career 3 3 16 7 9 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

Records and achievements

Cowboys franchise records

Personal life

Parsons is a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and attended Game 3 of the 2022 World Series in Philadelphia.[22]

In May 2018, Parsons became the father of a son, Malcolm.[23] Parsons cited the risk that COVID-19 presented to the health and well-being of his son Malcolm as a major factor in his decision to opt out participation in the 2020 college football season.[24] Parsons and his girlfriend had a daughter in January 14, 2023.[25]

Parsons is a self-taught chess player, who uses the game to cultivate his game on the football field.[26][27][28] He played in Chess.com's BlitzChamp tournament, a rapid tournament for NFL players.

On December 8, 2022, the United States announced a prisoner swap with Russia, which led to the release of WNBA basketball player, Brittney Griner from a Russian prison.[29] In response, Parsons expressed disappointment that the US did not secure the release of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine held in Russia, as part of the prisoner swap. On Twitter, Parsons wrote "Wait nah!! We left a marine?? Hell Nah." He later apologized for the comments.[29]


  1. ^ "Micah Parsons' High School Football Stats". MaxPreps.com.
  2. ^ "Penn State commit, Harrisburg star Micah Parsons throws down monster dunk".
  3. ^ "Penn State". 247Sports.
  4. ^ "After Ohio State incident, Parsons picks PSU".
  5. ^ "Micah Parsons plans to enroll at Penn State by January 8; final Harrisburg High game next week". PennLive.com. December 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "Buckeyes report offense with recruit, GameDay".
  7. ^ "Five-star DE Micah Parsons commits to Penn State".
  8. ^ "Micah Parsons signs with Penn State: 5-star recruit returns to Lions class". 20 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-23. Retrieved 2017-12-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Micah Parsons will start Penn State career as a linebacker, James Franklin says". 20 December 2017.
  11. ^ Donohue, Tyler (21 December 2019). "Micah Parsons named consensus All-American: 'It's a good start'". 24/7sports. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Parsons Earns Defensive MVP in Cotton Bowl Classic Win". Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  13. ^ Cobb, David; Sallee, Barrett. "Penn State star Micah Parsons opts out of 2020 season to prepare for 2021 NFL Draft". CBS Sports. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  14. ^ Donohue, Tyler. "Micah Parsons reflects on graduating from Penn State in three years". 247Sports. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  15. ^ "Micah Parsons Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Micah Parsons, Penn State, OLB, 2021 NFL Draft Scout, NCAA College Football". draftscout.com. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  17. ^ Wogenrich, Mark. "'He's Ready-Made for the NFL:' Who the Cowboys are Getting in Micah Parsons". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  18. ^ Wogenrich, Mark. "Micah Parsons is Standing Out in Dallas". SI.com. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  19. ^ Gordon, Grant (November 3, 2021). "Jets QB Mike White, 49ers WR Deebo Samuel among NFL Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  20. ^ Baca, Michael (October 12, 2022). "Bills' Josh Allen, Saints' Taysom Hill highlight Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  21. ^ Patra, Kevin. "Micah Parsons breaks Cowboys' rookie sack record". NFL. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Micah Parsons attends and roots for Phillies in World Series". NBC Sports Philadelphia. 2022-11-02. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  23. ^ "Micah Parsons is now a dad, days after making Penn State debut". PennLive.com. 2018-05-11. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  24. ^ "Micah Parsons explains opt-out decision, thanks Penn State". 247Sports. 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  25. ^ "Cowboys star Micah Parsons announces birth of daughter on Saturday ahead of playoff matchup". On3. 2023-01-14. Retrieved 2023-02-19.
  26. ^ "Why Micah Parsons is the ultimate piece in Cowboys' chess game". Dallas News. 2021-09-07. Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  27. ^ Fisher, Mike. "Cowboys' Micah Parsons: 'Queen on The Chess Board'". FanNation Dallas Cowboys News, Analysis and More. Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  28. ^ "Micah Parsons is beating his new Dallas Cowboys teammates in chess". Nittany Lions Wire. 2021-06-14. Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  29. ^ a b "Micah Parsons Apologizes for Reaction to Brittney Griner's Release". Sports Illustrated. December 8, 2022.