While Oakley (Calif.) Freedom tailback Joe Mixon was undoubtedly the star of Sunday's Passing Down 7-on-7 Central California Regional, another offensive player tore up the field, as well, in Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill 2015 quarterback Kyle Kearns.
"Our offense executed really well, I thought, and the teams out there were great on offense," said Kearns, who threw between 20 and 30 touchdown passes on the day. "It was a scoring battle. Whoever had the ball first or who had the longest time of possession seemed to get the win."
Kearns's EBAL team got out to a hot start, downing former California safety Marcus Ezeff's squad, 23-8, before finally falling in the semifinals to Team Grizzlies, which squared off in the title game against Mixon's TMP Elite Stars.
"Defensively, they knew what we were doing on a couple of routes, and they had really good DBs," Kearns said of the Grizzlies. "It was one of those tournaments where the offenses really controlled the game, and controlling the ball. It was just a scoring fest, whoever we played against. They would score and we would score, and it was just whoever started with the ball and had more possessions seemed to win. There wasn't a team that really shut our offense down."
Kearns has been getting persistent recruiting interest from Texas A&M, Georgia, Vanderbilt and UCLA. He plans on going to the Bruins' camp this summer. But, the team he's really enamored with is the one he's been watching since he was four-years old, sitting on his father's shoulders as he walked up the hill to Memorial Stadium with the Cal Marching Band playing all around him.
"I've always been a Cal fan growing up, just because they're the local team, and my dad really wanted to go to Cal, being from Walnut Creek," said Kearns, who's father played middle linebacker for Oregon. "It's always been a really great school to me, and to my family. It's always been one of those schools I've always wanted to go to, and the academics there are incredible. The football team's always been very good."
Kearns visited Berkeley earlier this spring, and talked with the staff while re-connecting with childhood friends Zach Kline and Jared Goff.
"I went a month ago and I sat in on the quarterbacks position meeting, and I was able to watch a spring practice and hang out with the quarterbacks like Zach Kline and Jared Goff -- the East Bay guys I kind of knew growing up -- and they both went to the Elite 11, which is a big goal of mine. I kind of want to follow in their footsteps," said Kearns, even if that means competing with them, head-to-head. "Those guys are great quarterbacks, and if the time comes that I need to compete against them, I'll be willing to compete against them, but competition is competition."
Kearns says that Kline is "kind of an older brother," to him, and clearly, the love of the Bears is something the two share, particularly because both Kline and Kearns – as well as Goff – have been tutored by quarterback coach and former Cal head coach Roger Theder.
"He coached at Cal for a while there, and he knows the position," Kearns said. "His key thing is to never take anything off the ball. It's always throwing the ball 100 miles an hour, and if you see Roger Theder guys, they've always got big arms, and he says to never take anything off the ball. If the guy can't catch it, it's their fault. Get the ball where you need it to get to, and let the receivers do the rest."
Another reason for Kearns's affinity for the Bears is the possibility of once again teaming up with tight end/inside receiver Ray Hudson, who was Kearns's primary target last season.
"He was a huge mismatch all year, with his size," Kearns said. "Most DBs who are about 5-9 or 5-11, he's 6-foot-4 and you just throw it up there and he's going to come down with it. He's going to body it up with his size, and he's fast, too, so it's hard to guard for most of those guys, especially on the high school level, where he's just got that advantage, height-wise."
The chemistry, of course, wouldn't be a problem, either.
"It'd be awesome to go to the same high school and the same college as the guy who you've built the most chemistry with," Kearns said. "He was our main target all year, and it would make things a lot easier, especially when it came to college, because our timing is right on ... That'd be great. He still wants to work. He just got off an injury, and he wants to get out there and throw with us. He's still in our sixth-period class and he still wants to go out and throw and really wants to work on his game."
Kearns said that his talks with the Bears have been preliminary, with head coach Sonny Dykes mainly talking about the offense and what his staff plans to do with it.
"It's really just been about what Cal is doing and what type of offense they run and it seems to be a really good fit for me, as a quarterback, with that kind of offense -- the short passing game, the shotgun -- it just seems like an offense that would suit me really well," Kearns said.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder will be in attendance at Cal's one-day elite camp on July 27.
PASSING DOWN: Kyle Kearns
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