Kearsley working hard

Future BYU offensive lineman Brayden Kearsley has been active since the end of his high school football career. His sights are set on having a contributing role on the Cougar offensive line this coming fall.

With the struggles BYU experienced last year on the offensive line, new contributors seem necessary. One such potential contributor is just finishing up his high school academic year, and is eager to join the football squad in early June.

"School is going good man, it's starting to really wind down," said Brayden Kersley. "I graduate on June 6th. We've got 14 more school days, or something like that. Maybe 12. I've got like three classes this semester that will have finals."

Workouts are going well too, apparently.

"Training is going good, man," Kearsley said earlier this week. "Today I squatted, [did] my leg work out, then ran. So I've just been working with the weights and running to get ready to report in June, and for fall camp in August."

Like his fellow incoming Cougar teammates, Kearsley was also issued a workout plan from the coaching staff.

"Yeah, Coach Tujague sent me a lifting program, and a running program, so I've just been following those workouts. The workouts are basically a lot of Olympic lifting, a lot of running, just trying to get ready for the season. Just a lot of running man. The running workouts take longer than the lifting workouts, so I mean we're trying to get ready for that no-huddle offense, and we're just running our tails off right now."

Many followed the fairly well-documented recruiting saga that Kearsley endured, with his early commitment to BYU, then the labeling of a "soft verbal," followed by leaning heavily to Oregon State. Eventually BYU won the recruiting battle for his services.

"I was leaning heavily towards Oregon State, and then near the end Arkansas and Tennessee came on pretty heavy, so if it were not for Coach Anae I might be headed somewhere in the SEC. I didn't want to be on the offensive side of the ball for a team that wasn't putting up any points and not doing anything offensively. I mean, we were so close in so many games. With a little more offensive production we win probably three or four more games last year."

Needless to say, he is very excited to begin his playing career under the direction of offensive coordinator Robert Anae and offensive line coach Garett Tujague.

"Yeah man, I love Coach Anae. He just gets after it, and knows what he's doing. He loves the game of football, and just knows how to win. He's just so competitive.

With the massive overhaul taking place on the offensive line this offseason, as BYU brings in four junior college offensive linemen and four more high school graduates, Kearsley could find himself firmly in the mix for early playing time.

"I expect just to come in and work my tail off, and do everything I can do myself to get a starting spot as a true freshman, and just ball out. I just want to go in there, work hard, and become a leader on the offensive line, so that's my expectations. We want to run the offense as fast as possible.

Coach Anae talked with Kearsley during his in-home visit about playing center. Anae said he thought center was a position that Kearsley could thrive at, and that would give him the quickest route to the NFL.

"I will be starting my workouts at center, and I can play guard , center, or tackle," said Kearsley. "I think I'll probably be playing mostly center and guard right now at the start."

Kearsley described his strengths and weaknesses as follows:

"My strengths are probably, well, I like to play tough on the offensive line. I mean, I want to be physical and impose my will on my opponent. I love to run-block, I pride myself on being a technician in my run-blocking. That's who I am. I pride myself on being physical, and just maul people and pancake people. I want to get better on keeping my weight back on my pass-blocking, and just being patient. Patience is one thing that I need to get better at from the offensive lineman standpoint … just patience."

With the Cougar offense going more up-tempo, Kearsley has been making a strong effort to improve his overall athleticism, quickness, and strength.

"My forty time right now is around a 5.1 or a 5 flat right now. I've lost a little weight. I've lost about five or 10 pounds, and it has helped me get a little bit quicker and get my speed up. My lifts have also improved. I'm benching about 365, and squat like 415 and that's it. I clean about 300."

Kearsley weighed in during his senior season at about 310 pounds, but is now at 298 pounds.

Meanwhile, he is also keeping in constant contact with his position coach, Coach Tujague.

"Coach Tujague and I are in contact all the time. I talk to him probably once every week, and we text a lot. Not every day, but we text a lot and keep in contact. We email, text, just do whatever. He reminds me to be running, and reminds me of what kind of shape they are expecting me to be in when I enroll down there. He lets me know of new things he'd like me to do in the workouts, and he really pushes me a lot. He's always on my tail pushing me to get better. He wants me to be the best I can be. He's a really good friend, and a good coach."

Kearsley was able to take a trip down to Provo and take a sneak peak at the new offense during BYU's spring game.

"The spring game was really good man. It looked like we had made a lot of improvements from last year on offense, it was great. I think this offseason the offense has really stepped it up, and we looked a lot better. I definitely think we'll be better next year."

Kearsley, like the offense, continues to improve his craft and get better every day.

"I improved a lot since last year. My attitude is a lot better. The mental part of the game, film study, I've been much improved. I've been going to a personal trainer up here for the last couple of years, and they have really helped me get better. I haven't been able to go as much since I started the BYU training program, because I've been doing so much running. I lift with my school coaches, and run still with the workout plan and with my personal coach. So between the two workout plans, I get one workout in every day, and two workouts in about every other day."

Kearsley plans on arriving on campus on June 10, and is looking forward to the college football experience with his coaches and his friends. Cougar fans are excited as well.

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