Bluefield’s Kaulin Parris Ready To Become A Mountaineer
There are few guarantees given to a walk-on at a major college football program. That’s especially true for specialists, who usually toil in anonymity on remote practice fields until they eventually … maybe … get a shot at game duty.
Kaulin Parris, a punter/placekicker from Bluefield (W.Va.) High School who is a preferred walk-on set to join the Mountaineer football team for the 2020 season, doesn’t seem daunted by the uncertain path.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity that West Virginia University is giving me, and I can’t wait to get up there,” the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Parris said. “I’m ready to get up there and compete and get to work.”
Parris plans to enroll at WVU this summer and begin his workouts with Neal Brown’s staff.
Until then Parris isn’t sitting idly by. He’s a key member of the Bluefield basketball team, averaging better than 12 points per game for the 14-3 Beavers who are regarded as a contender for this year’s Class AA state title.
“I love playing basketball,” he said. “That was my main sport for the longest time. It does help in terms of conditioning.”
Several members of the Beavers’ football team, which was the Class AA runners-up this past season, are also on the BHS basketball squad. Among those is Sean Martin, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end/power forward, who is also headed to WVU as one of the Mountaineers’ top recruits in this year’s class.
“Sean and I have been basically best friends since fifth grade,” Parris noted. “I’m really excited that we’re going to continue to be teammates.”
After his junior season, the Bluefield kicker started getting recruiting attention. On top of a number of smaller colleges, Virginia Tech and WVU each offered preferred walk-on opportunities. He looked around at various programs before deciding to commit to the Mountaineers last summer.
“Once I went to Morgantown for a visit, I fell in love with it,” Parris explained. “The coaches were great, and I love how serious they are about football. It’s also a blessing to be able to play for my home state.”
A second-team class AA all-state placekicker this past season, Parris made 74-of-79 extra points on the year. He didn’t get many field goal opportunities because the Beavers were an offensive juggernaut (41.5 points per game) who usually put the ball in the end zone, but when given the chance, he did connect on three. As a junior, he made 69-of-71 extra points and also converted a 44-yard field goal.
He’s a highly-regarded punter as well, averaging over 40 per boot on the few times 12-2 Bluefield needed him to punt the ball.
“I’m going up there as a combo (punter and placekicker), but I’m probably more of a punter,” said Parris. “We’ll see what they want me to do.”
Parris will have plenty of competition once he gets to WVU. Evan Staley and Casey Legg split the placekicking duties last season and each returns in 2020. While last year’s punter Josh Growden has used up his eligibility, his backup, Kolton McGhee, returns.
On top of that, another preferred walk-on, Danny King of Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Maryland, has also committed to join the Mountaineers this coming season.
King, who was a quarterback for the Sentinels, was perfect on his 65 PAT attempts this past fall and averaged 41.6 yards per punt.
“He’s a really good dude and a heck of a football player,” Parris said of King. “We’re all in a group on Snapchat (for the members of WVU’s class of 2020).”
Parris isn’t worried about the others, though, just himself.
“I know that I just need to go up there and compete and put it in God’s hands,” said the Bluefield Beaver. “From there, everything will take care of itself.”