(© 2016 KYTX)
A complicated journey to the gridiron
Many football players go straight from high school to college. But for one Texas college sophomore it took six years and hitting rock bottom before he found his way back to the football field.
Ryan Moye, KYTX 11:15 PM. CDT November 03, 2016
Kawann Parrish is a powerhouse on the field for the Texas College Steers.
But before he was a strong safety in East Texas one choice off the field kept him from the game he loves.
"I kind of got back acclimated to that group and once somebody suggested a robbery I said I need the money so why not," Parrish said.
In 2010 the Kansas City native committed a robbery at gunpoint.
"I robbed this place as I leave this place my ride leaves me I was left at the scene nowhere to run I was kind of like this was it," Parrish said.
He spent four and a half years in Missouri state prison.
"One thing I really lost near and dear to me is friends, family, people that lost their lives that's why..." Parrish stated, "I don't want to think about it I'm going to start crying..."
While incarcerated Parrish was facilitating classes and self-help groups to better himself.
"If I didn't have a vision coming here guess what I would've been doing, in the city hanging out doing nothing wasting time but I had a vision trying to take the initiative," Parrish said.
After being eligible for parole... Parrish wrote to colleges across the nation for a chance to get back on the field, and one finally responded.
"He came down and he meets with us you know good kid." Head coach, Gregory Ruffin said.
"I sat in a car with Coach Ruffin he was like tell me something about yourself and I told him and he said was there anything else you want to tell me and I said oh yeah I'm a felon," Parrish said.
"Wanted to know it wasn't so much about what transpired for him to be incarcerated." Ruffin explained.
"I told him and he said that's one thing about me I'm always about second chances he said I wouldn't judge you based off that," Parrish said.
"My biggest thing on determining whether or not bringing him here would be good for him was what did you get out of it," Ruffin said.
"He said with you coming from where you're coming from I know I can count on you to be a leader because you already know what it's like to have something taken away from you, he said that's what these kids don't know," Parrish said.
"You know we're going to continue to love him up and hey and that's what Texas College is for you know we're here to get people on track who need to be on track you know what I'm saying it gives the kids a real big brother like presence because it's nothing like someone telling you if you don't do it this way this is what can happen because you know I've been there you know," Parrish said.
Being a leader is exactly what Parrish has accomplished.
"Every time there's a roadblock there's some type of door that opens for me and I just try not to get discouraged and that's the difference from then..." Parrish stated, "and now then I kind of gave up and I took the shortcut now there's not way I going to do a robbery...no."
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