Kearsley Has New Leader

When Brayden Kearsley woke up Friday morning, only one thing was on his mind - taking down the Titans. His No. 9 Aloha Warriors host the No. 8 West Salem Titans tonight in the second round of the Oregon 6A playoffs - but when he wiped the sleep from his eyes and looked at his email, he had a quick double-take. His day was officially about to get off to a fantastic start.

"I was getting out of bed and flipped on my phone," the 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive line prospect told FoxSportsNEXT Friday afternoon. "All of a sudden the email popped up, saying 'Congratulations, you're a Semper Fidelis All-American'. I was like, 'What?'. Then I just read it and then went in my parents' bedroom to show them, and they were real excited. It's an honor to get selected to this game. I kind of knew it was going to happen because with the Army Bowl I was really close. They sent me a letter saying I was the next deserving offensive lineman - so I thought something would come. I just kind of had a feeling there was no way I wouldn't get a look just because of the way I have been playing this year."

Kearsley admitted it took him about two minutes to officially accept the invite. "Maybe less," he said with a chuckle. "I told my parents regardless when I got nominated for all the All-American games, whichever one I was going to get selected to I was going to play in. And my Dad 100 percent agreed."

There won't be a ceremony at Aloha designating Brayden a Semper Fidelis All-American, but he's not concerned. "They are going to send everything to my address, so I'll get my game jersey and stuff like that - I requested my jersey number that I've always had and things like that…they said they were real excited to have me play," he said, adding that he'll wear number 55 - the number of his favorite player Mike Pouncey, who played collegiately at Florida and now plays for the Miami Dolphins. It's the same number he wears at Aloha. Kearsley will leave for Los Angeles on December 30th for the Semper Fidelis practices and the game is on January 4th at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

The next order of business for the 8-2 Warriors is to beat one-loss West Salem. Kearsley has been literally a big part of Oregon-bound Thomas Tyner's rampage on the Oregon high school all-time rushing records. Tyner needs 95 yards to break the state's single-season rushing record of 3,335 yards set by Cory McCaffrey of Sisters in 2006. "We haven't really talked about it, it's just something we saw earlier in the week," Kearsley said of Tyner's assault on the record books. "We're just trying to get that W. That's the most important thing right now."

The year has been such a positive experience for Kearsley, he doesn't want to see it end any time soon. "It's been real positive," he said. "It's fun blocking for Thomas and it's fun to block with the other lineman that are my best buds. It's a good experience and I'm looking forward to keep doing that in the playoffs and keep winning games.

"We haven't played our best football yet. We know what we're capable of and our weeks of practices have gotten better and better. With as much talent as we have on our team, a lot of teams bring out their A game every single game, and we're expecting everyone's best game…especially more now because there is no tomorrow now. It's the playoffs. We haven't peaked yet, there's a long ways to go. Once everything is clicking, it'll be a great playoff run."

Kearsley seemingly ended the recruiting process a long ago when he verbally committed to BYU in the summer of 2011, but has since changed his stance. "I visited Oregon State last spring on an unofficial visit and ever since then I've really liked them and really felt comfortable with their coaching staff and kept going down there - so I've now opened things up fully and taking my visits and just going to go from there," he said.

With official visits looming before the start of the signing period in February, Kearsley has started to nail down some trip dates. "I have U-Dub (Washington) scheduled for December 7-9, but if we make it to the state championship game that's going to be cancelled," he said. "And then Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA will all be after that."

And the Cougars? "I think so," Kearsley said of an official visit to BYU. "It depends on how late or early I decide to make my decision." Kearsley added that if the Warriors do make it to the title game, he'd look to re-schedule the visit for the following weekend.

In talking with Kearsley, it's easy to see why the Beavers stand out right now, and he considers Oregon State the leaders to land his signature at this point. "The offense, the crowd, and it's close to home," he said, laying out his rationale. "My friends, parents and family can watch me too, so that's something I like a lot."

Brayden Kearsley Profile

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