Working on the kicking game...

Bluefield placekicker Kaulin Parris leads the kickoff team during the first day of practice on July 30, 2018.

BLUEFIELD — Bluefield High School football fans have suspected for the last two seasons that their placekicker was a big-time talent.

Now he’s been given a big-time opportunity.

Beavers all-state placekicker Kaulin Parris was offered preferred  walk-on status at Virginia Tech by Hokies longtime assistant coach Charlie Wiles after the Bluefield kicker watched a Hokies spring practice in Blacksburg,Va., on Saturday. 

“I went to Junior Day a couple of weeks ago,  so I went back to the spring practice. After the practice he told me I had an offer and it was the biggest blessing, man,”  said Parris, a 6-3, 180 pound junior who also played basketball and soccer during his career at Bluefield in addition to his role on Bluefield’s state championship and state runner-up football teams.

“I thank God, because without Him none of this would be possible. And I’m thankful to my parents for taking me to all the camps and schools and especially I’m thankful to Virginia Tech for giving me the opportunity to play for them,” Kaulin said.

“Just receiving (a preferred walk-on offer) is such a blessing, because normally kickers don’t get full rides until they actually start to play,” he said.

Parris joins fellow talented Bluefield underclassmen teammates who have already received Division I offers, including JJ Davis, Isaiah Johnson and Sean Martin. 

Needless to say, his parents are extremely excited.

“(Wiles) came up and said he didn’t want to beat around the bush anymore or wait. He saw some things in his character and what other stuff, so he made the preferred walk on offer,” said Kaulin’s dad, Ryan Parris.  “It was pretty cool.”

Early on in his athletic career at Bluefield, it became evident that Parris had exceptional abilities as a soccer player— quite possibly enough so to lead to opportunities at the next level in that sport.  But in West Virginia, high school soccer and football seasons run concurrently. At first, Parris played for both squads. The youngster eventually realized that dividing his energies between the two endeavors wasn’t an ideal situation either for himself or his respective teammates.

Considering the other opportunities he may have set aside in order to devote his full attention to football, recent developments have been an extraordinary boon to the Bluefield youngster.

The competition for placekickers is extremely intense at the college level. As Bluefield head football coach Fred Simon pointed out, Division I preferred walk-on offers are few and far between for dedicated kickers.

Even so, the Virginia Tech offer isn’t exactly a bolt from the blue. Parris has been regularly attending assorted kicking camps since he was a freshman. And recruiters have been watching all along.

“They’ve really payed attention to his development since he was a ninth grader. They’ve liked the hold time and the accuracy. When he can go 6-for-6 (on PAT attempts) ... he got a lot of opportunities to kick the ball with everybody scoring touchdowns — which was awesome,” Ryan Parris said. “What they really liked this year was his touchbacks (on kickoffs). That deal really catches a college’s eyes, too.”

 The Beavers kicker’s big-time potential has also been posted online for everyone to see ... in particular successful field goal attempts of 57 and 60 yards video recorded at Mitchell Stadium this past summer. 

“Normally in the summer me and my dad would spend countless hours out there. Mostly we’d work on technique but every now and then we’d go for some long balls. That’s when we kicked those,” said Parris, who hit 57 yards one week and nailed 60 yards the next.

His longest field goal for the Beavers during a live game situation was 43 yards.  Thanks to the Beavers’ high-octane offense the last two seasons, he got lots of opportunities to demonstrate his consistency on PAT kicks. He was rarely needed for long shots, however.

Thanks to Virginia Tech’s offer, his dream of one day kicking at the highest levels of college football is no longer a long shot.  Word travels fast via social media and recruiting web sites. Counter offers are apt to emerge over the next week or so.

“When that first one drops, then everybody starts getting way more interested real quick. It speeds things up,” Ryan Parris said. “So a lot of stuff transpired last night and I don’t even know the half of it.”

This coming weekend, Parris will attend the Kohl’s Kicking Camp in Morgantown, where he is certainly expected to receive heightened interest from other Division I recruiters.

He’s just going to focus on kicking the football.

“I’m just going to keep enjoying the process ... and see what happens,” Kaulin said.

 —  Contact sports@bdtonline.com

 

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