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The next Micah Parsons? Penn State football star looking to shine in year two

The Nittany Lions may already have the next Micah Parsons.



Penn State football, Abdul Carter, Micah Parsons
Nov 9, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates after sacking the Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (not pictured) in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State football star Abdul Carter, a rising sophomore linebacker, was rewarded with Freshman All-American honors and more during his first year in the Blue and White last fall. Despite being a true freshman, Carter was awarded Penn State’s coveted No. 11, worn by all of the great Nittany Lion linebackers throughout the program’s history. The most recent all-star before Carter was Micah Parsons, who donned the Blue and White for the final time in the 2019 Cotton Bowl, helping lead his program to its third 11-win season and top 10 finish since 2016.

Now, heading into year two, Abdul Carter is looking to take the next step and develop into the next Micah Parsons — all elite defenses need a player that is an athletic freak, and Carter has the potential to be exactly that.

Penn State football star Abdul Carter: the human missile

Penn State football has established a rich tradition of producing elite linebackers, earning them the well-deserved moniker of “Linebacker U” and a reputation for leading the nation in linebacker development. Amongst this esteemed lineage, Abdul Carter has emerged as a standout player, evident from the beginning of the 2022 season. As he enters his second year with the Blue and White, new questions arise about his potential.

It is no longer a question of whether Carter will excel at Penn State; rather, the focus has shifted to how far his talents can take him. In his second season, Carter has enhanced his physical attributes, becoming bigger, faster, stronger, and gaining valuable experience. He aims to bring a presence reminiscent of Micah Parsons to Manny Diaz’s defense. Multiple sources have recognized Carter as one of the nation’s top linebackers, despite his young age. His explosive and lightning-fast style of play has led him to be described as a “missile” on the field, further highlighting his exceptional abilities.

“Abdul wants to be great,” Manny Diaz said of Carter during spring practice. “Most great players, they know that they have to improve. Most great players are are obsessed with improvement more so than the fact that, yes, they flashed and made plays. Abdul — obviously you can make a play, you can flash and make a play, and a guy like that it makes it very easy to try to put him in situations to make plays … down after down being where you’re supposed to be and understanding the ins and outs of the defense.”

“Also be able to play multiple positions,” Diaz continued. “Abdul will be the first to tell you he has a lot of room to grow and that it’s been fun to get through the spring, and not have to worry about getting ready for a game … and to give him a more foundational base of what we’re doing defensively.”

A new Michah Parsons?

Micah Parsons undeniably left a lasting impact on the game of football, redefining it with his unmatched athleticism. During his time at Penn State, he stood out as one of the all-time greats to wear the No. 11 jersey in the Blue and White. Although his college career was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parsons has successfully transitioned to the next level and now stands as one of the most feared pass-rushers in the National Football League.

Parsons’ time at Penn State showcased his explosive athletic ability, making him a constant threat on the field. Regardless of who was blocking him, where the play was headed, or the number of blockers in his path, Parsons consistently posed a problem for the opposition. Last season, Penn State football star Abdul Carter demonstrated glimpses of that same explosiveness. Fans witnessed Carter’s ability to fly from sideline to sideline and his relentless pursuit of opposing quarterbacks.

Carter’s electrifying bursts of speed and powerful tackling bring back memories of the Micah Parsons era, and hint at his immense potential as a college linebacker. Since last season, Carter has added considerable weight, now boasting a 6-foot-3, 249-pound frame heading into his second year. If he continues to improve and develop, fans may witness the resurgence of Micah Parsons-like dominance at Penn State through Carter’s performances.

“At the end of the day it is that they put on good weight, and [if they can] carry it,” James Franklin said about Abdul Carter’s physical growth. “And [Penn State football star Abdul Carter] has put on good weight and is carrying it well right now. So, at the end of the day, the reality is [get] as big as you can get and still keep your speed and quickness — it is a weapon. So, right now, he seems to be doing a good job of it.”

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