Kevin Morris may be the closest thing to the perfect student athlete at South Carroll High.
Morris carries a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to major in mechanical engineering at West Virginia University in the fall. And on weekends, he would blow off excess steam by running the occasional 5K and 10K.
"I remember when we had a hard practice one day and the next day, he won a 5K," South Carroll soccer boys coach Tim Novotny said of Morris early in his high school career.
Soccer has been more important over the years to Morris, however. The 6-foot-3, 165-pounders is talented enough to have started for the Cavaliers for all four years.
The 2016 Times Player of the Year recently committed to West Virginia after being aggressively recruited by Belmont and American.
Morris said he will he attend West Virginia on an academic scholarship, even though Belmont offered him a soccer scholarship.
"Their soccer program is one of the best in the country," Morris said of a Mountaineers team that was ranked in the top 20 last September in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Soccer America polls last September. "It will be a great challenge for me to develop in that environment. They play all the top-level teams and the coaching staff is great. All those things came into consideration."
Novotny feels the 17-year-old Morris can have an immediate impact with Mountaineers.
"West Virginia is in need of a center back," the coach said. "My assumption is that he will play right away. He is a rare breed. He has the leadership qualities and the natural talent. He is extremely athletic and very good at soccer."
Academics is equally as important as soccer to Morris, who played basketball as a freshman at South Carroll.
"I have wanted to do engineering in college for a long time," Morris said. "West Virginia's program is really good compared to other universities. That was a strong pull for me."
When Morris is not studying, he will be focusing even more sharply on soccer. He plays the sport year round and has competed for a high-level club team, the Soccer Association of Columbia U-19 squad, for the past two years.
Morris' team traveled to tournaments in Orlando, Las Vegas, and New York City last year, and the team will play in Las Vegas next week.
At South Carroll, Morris started out his career as a defender, then moved to midfield as a junior.
The two-year co-captain finished second in the county in scoring as a senior with 23 points (9 goals, 5 assists) to lead the Cavaliers to the Class 2A West regional championship game.
Morris earned Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer all-state honors as both a junior and senior, snagging first-team status in 2016. He also received All-South Region honors from the NSCAA — a first for a South Carroll boys player, according to his coach.
"He was respected by every single teammate and opponent of his," Novotny said. "He is the only player I have seen in my 10 years to ever get a standing ovation at the [Cavaliers'] banquet. Everybody truly loves this kid."
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