What Micah Parsons’ mom tells her son to get through a rough day at Penn State
Five-star recruit Micah Parsons of Harrisburg arrived at Penn State in January, but the hectically scheduled days of Division I football can be too much for him at times, his mom says.
Penn State’s Micah Parsons is on a path to becoming a starting linebacker at “Linebacker U” as a true freshman. Yet some of his hectically scheduled days at State College can be too much for the highly touted five-star recruit from Harrisburg.
That’s when Micah calls his mom, Sherese Parsons, and talks about giving it all up – quitting Penn State.
“He did say it’s really hard,” Sherese, 43, said, describing heart-to-heart FaceTime conversations with her son.
It’s the structure, the meetings, the classes, and still more meetings that come with Division I football, she added. Her son’s entire days are booked solid.
Some days, it’s too much for 18-year-old Micah, who arrived on campus in January after starring for the Harrisburg Cougars the past two seasons.
“He said, ‘Mom, if it wasn’t for you, I might have quit,” Sherese said.
That’s when a mother turns her son’s moment of doubt into a light-hearted moment.
“I just started laughing,” Sherese recalled. “I’m your motivation?”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to Parsons’ sister, Shatara, Micah, the baby of the family, has always been a “mama’s boy.”
Five-star recruit Micah Parsons of Harrisburg, flanked by his parents, on Penn State Signing Day.Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.
READ MORE: Micah’s ‘rollercoaster’ journey from pee wee football to Penn State
“Since he came out of the womb, he has been attached to my mom,” said Shatara, a senior on the California University of Pa. basketball team looking to land a spot with the women’s EuroLeague.
Shatara knows firsthand just how hard the transition is from high school to college. She lived it, overcoming the death of a teammate and a best friend and helping her team to a Division II national title. She’s convinced her baby brother will overcome any adversity, as well.
“It is a lot on you sometimes,” Shatara said, describing the combined pressures of being a student-athlete. “You are mentally and physically tired. You think, ‘I’m I depressed today’.”
But the lows make the highs that much better.
“The best days are the days you get better and show what kind of athlete you can be,” Shatara said. “When you show your teammates what you can do and you win a big game, it’s all worth it in the end.”
None other than LaVar Arrington, whose No. 11 Micah will wear, said he worried himself bald as a Penn State freshman.
“I would be sick,” said Arrington, who played linebacker from 1997-99. “I had a stress patch on my head. I lost hair.”
But pressure also mints diamonds.
“When things matter, you are going to be stressed out about it,” Arrington said. “You got to work through it. Let it help drive you. I worked my tail off because I wanted to be ready. I wanted to establish who I was to the team. I wanted to establish respect for who I was and who I would be on that team.”
He’s convinced Micah will do the same. Arrington believes Micah can earn respect from his teammates because the Parsons family raised him to do so.
“For him and his family to be so humble and so down to earth, that is special to me,” Arrington said. “That is why I am so high on him.”
No wonder Micah’s mom is so special to him, with the power to wield a soothing smile and some reassuring words that keep her son in the game at Penn State.
“I tell him how proud I am of him,” Sherese said.
That’s all it takes.
“Those days he wants to give up, he hears my mom’s voice,” Shatara said. “He needs my mom to keep him up. Just hearing my mom’s voice gets him up.”
Turns out, it’s Micah’s ultimate motivation.
“He wants a better life for me, a better future,” Sherese said of her son.
Those brighter days for Micah and his mom begin with his success at Penn State. And Parsons’ journey there starts Saturday with the Blue-White game.