BLUEFIELD — There has been interest from college programs all over the country for players on the Bluefield High School football team. Three of them won’t be leaving West Virginia to play NCAA Division I college football.
Instead, they’ll all be remaining in-state to play.
Bluefield’s Sean Martin, Kaulin Parris and JJ Davis all signed their National Letter of Intents Wednesday morning. Martin and Parris will play for West Virginia University under head coach Neal Brown. Davis will suit up at Marshall under head coach Doc Holliday.
The signing completes the recruiting process for all three of them, bringing to a close the constant barrage from coaches who have been trying to recruit them.
Martin is ranked by multiple recruiting services as the top senior in the state of West Virginia and was a priority for WVU head football coach Neal Brown when he took the job in January.
“The second week he was there, he came to see me and it just meant a lot to me,” Martin said.
Martin originally verbally committed to North Carolina over the summer but withdrew the commitment before the start of the season. He was named the captain of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association Class AA All-State first team defense after a senior season with 102 tackles and eight sacks.
Joining him in Morgantown will be kicker/punter Kaulin Parris, an early commit who drew interest from other colleges as the season progressed but decided to stick with the Mountaineers.
“It’s such a blessing to be able to commit to WVU and now to sign for them. Coach Brown and all of them are great people and I can’t wait to get up there in Morgantown and compete,” Parris said.
Parris made 74-of-79 extra points this year and three field goals. He was named to the WVSWA Class AA All-State second team as a kicker.
Getting the chance to play Division-I football was a dream for all three of them and they achieved the next step to that by signing together.
“I’m honored to be sitting beside these guys, its just a dream come true. We’ve been waiting for this since we were little kids, that’s all we’ve wanted,” Davis said.
Davis kept his final choice a secret from everyone except his family. The Big Reveal occurred when he lifted a Marshall helmet from below the table and unzipped his jacket to reveal a Thundering Herd shirt beneath.
He had received numerous offers throughout the summer and was at one point committed to the University of Toledo.
“It’s just a relief, just to get it out of the way. I like up there at Marshall in Huntington. I like the coaches up there and they’ve shown a lot of love and I appreciate everything they’ve done,” Davis said.
Davis helped promote himself with a senior season where he rushed for 1,923 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was subsequently named to the WVSWA Class AA All-State first team offense.
Keeping the top players in the state going to West Virginia was a focus from the start for Brown, who achieved that goal when he acquired Martin and Parris.
“He’s a man of his word, he always has preached about in-state kids and in-state talent,” Parris said. “I feel like its the best place for us and we’re excited to get there.”
All three said a benefit of staying close by is the ability for family and friends to come to the games. There will be seven home games next season for the Mountaineers. The Thundering Herd hosts six games next season.
“It’s just great because its not a far travel for my mom,” Davis said.
Martin will be joining a defensive line group at WVU that includes brothers Darius and Dante Stills, each of whom had seven sacks this past season.
There will be plenty of competition for Parris. The Mountaineers returning both kickers who saw playing time this year but they will be looking for someone to step into the starting role.
Davis will be able to learn a lot at Marshall, which has the Conference USA Most Valuable Player in running back Brenden Knox, who has two more years of eligibility.
While their time representing Bluefield on a football field is over for all three of them, they will keep their high school roots close in their hearts while playing at the collegiate level.
“I will never forget Bluefield High School, once a Beaver always a Beaver.
“I was so blessed to play four years and start all four years,” Parris said. “To play three years with Little Tony was such a blessing and I wish he was here today to see this.”
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