A lot of words exist in the English language to describe sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons, but the word that describes him the best?
"If you ask anybody, they would just say I'm different," Parsons said at Penn State's Media Day. "I'm just a different type of person. I'm like a kid in an adult body, you know, I love joking around, playing around. I could play around for days."
Parsons is plenty different than those he lines up with and against on Satrudays and for good reason. He's blessed with skills and attributes many dream of, but also a humility that comes along with being a star linebacker for the Nittany Lions.
The Harrisburg product might be fun and games outside of game day, but when the lights turn on, he's a different type of beast.
"When everything turns on I just turn into a completely different person," Parsons said. "On game day, I don't talk anymore, I don't do anything. I just lock in. I have to be a certain level to play where I want to play."
There's a confidence in the way Parsons walks and talks and deservedly so. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds Parsons is a monster among most kids his age and it doesn't go unnoticed nor can it be explained.
"The way I carry myself is just different than other people. No one can explain it," Parsons said. "Even when I was chilling out with LaVar (Arrington), he was like 'Yo, you really like me, but you're just a different dude.' It's from everyone, I can't get away from it."
The comparisons to Arrington will forever follow Parsons, but he's looking to carve his own path with the Nittany Lions, a path filled with lofty, yet achievable expectations. His expectations were high last year as he led the team in tackles, yet started only one game.
"I have such high expectations for myself and I think coach has them for me," Parsons said. "Me, I feel like that is the expectation. I wanted to do those things. There's always bumps in the road and adversity you face, but I didn't let that stop me from achieving my goals."
Every player has dreams and goals they set out from year to year that show why they want to play the game and what the game means to them.
"Every kid as a linebacker, you want to be a Butkus winner, that's my dream. Be an All-American, all great things like that. As long as I keep helping the team and keep going in the right direction, I can achieve my goals."
For a normal person, those personal goals might take away from the overall goals of the team, but we've got to remember Parsons is, well, different.
"I want to have the best defense in the country and the best defense in the conference and that's what our goal together is," Parsons said.
Simple, yet sufficient, but there's plenty more to the goals the team and Parsons have for the season.
"I believe this year is a retribution year. That's my word, retribution," Parsons said. "Revengeful. I want to and I believe this team wants to avenge every loss we had last year."
One of those retribution games will be against Ohio State, this time in Columbus, and Parsons, never the one to shy away from something, had this to say about former Nittany Lion target Julian Fleming's comments on playing for the Buckeyes because of perennially being in the College Football Playoff.
"Last time I could check, Ohio State hasn't been in the Playoff since they had seven first round picks," Parsons said. "Anyone can make the playoffs with seven first round picks, but you know we didn't have a year with full scholarships until a couple of years ago. I believe we have the right recipe now and we're going to continue to win games and do what we do."
Penn State enters the year with a chip on their shoulder and rightfully so, the big game and big victory has eluded James Franklin and company over the last few years. Despite that, it's not stopping Parsons from believing in what's yet to come for the Nittany Lions.
"Not many people believe in us, but we believe in us and I think that's important, Parsons said. "As long as the team keeps doing well, I'll keep doing well. I'm going to try my best to help the team."