BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech transfer John Parker Romo kicked his way into his teammates’ hearts with a hop, skip and jump.
The Hokies new placekicker's unusual kicking motion brought a rare smile to coach Justin Fuente during his weekly press conference.
“He has a unique approach, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen,” Fuente said.
Fuente noticed Romo “bounding” and “skipping" towards the ball during fall camp and turned it into a moment of levity for the team hitting the dog days of the preseason.
“I think it shows great self-confidence,” Fuente said. “I’m being serious. Everybody kind of embraced it. It was one of those days in the middle of fall camp where everybody was kind of dragging, we were tired and all that kind of stuff. He steps up there to go kick. We were working on taking the liner or something and he skips or whatever he does up to the ball. I noticed it and it immediately gave us a little bit of juice.”
Tech was in the market for a kicker with the departure of Jordan Stout to Penn State. The junior verbally committed to Tech with a tweet in June.
“I am very excited to announce my commitment to the team with the most current consecutive bowl appearances, the best stadium entrance in college football, and my new home in Blacksburg, Virginia,” Romo said on social media.
The well-traveled student-athlete spent his freshman year at University of Central Arkansas before enrolling at Tulsa as a walk-on for the 2018 season. He had 59 kickoffs while averaging 61.8 yards per kick with 28 touchbacks.
Romo took over kickoff duties for Tech in Week 3 while Brian Johnson continues to handle field goals. He is averaging 64 yards per kick (tied for No. 18 in FBS) on 23 attempts and has 18 touchbacks. He had his best game of the season against Rhode Island sending six of his seven attempts for touchbacks.
Fuente was happy with how Romo bounced back on Saturday after struggling against Miami.
“He kicked two balls out of bounds and kicked one right in the middle of the field,” Fuente said. “I think he did a good job of handling a little bit of adversity there and responded back. We’re happy to have him on here.”