Now, more so than ever, the quarterback of a football team must be the leader. On the field, the quarterback is in charge of everything -- getting his team lined up properly, putting the ball in the right spot, and limiting mistakes. If a quarterback also possesses the vocal leadership and ability to motivate, but calmly instill confidence in his teammates, the best of both worlds can lift a football program to new heights.
2015 Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill high school quarterback Kyle Kearns is just that. Speak to the 6-3, 190-pound thrower for 15 minutes and he’ll leave an impression, one that indicates regardless of where he ends up at the college level, winning will be a regular part of the regimen.
“I came in as a sophomore and had to get the seniors on my side and showed them that I’m not going to be one of those guys who’s going to be yelling and screaming, I’m going to lead by example on and off the field, setting the precedent that we as a team are going to grow as a team, fail as a team, and that we’re one unit,” Kearns told GoBlueWolverine. “I wanted to be the best leader on the team, make sure they knew I wasn’t going to leave those guys.
“On the field I think I have a pretty strong arm and I like to think I can make all of the throws. There’s not a throw that I don’t think I’ll be able to make and I’m very consistent with accuracy, and I’ve been told my anticipation was at a high level for my age too.”
Throwing for 2500 yards through the air including 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, Kearns is spending his off-season putting in more work. Competing at the Nike camp in Oakland, as well as the Elite 11, testing himself against some of the premier passers in the country.
“There was a lot of talented quarterbacks out there that, the list of schools that some of these guys have offers from is incredible,” said Kearns. “Just to see how you stack up against them and where you stand as a sophomore, and there were sophomores out there, just seeing what I need to improve on and just kind of showing that I’m every bit as good if not better than most of them. I might be over looked right now, don’t have any offers, but that’s not saying that I’m not as good as those guys.”
“They just sent me letters here and there -- sent camp brochures,” said Kearns. “This will be the first time I’ve seen anyone. Hopefully I can talk to a coach from Michigan soon. They’ve sent me stuff to let me know they’re interested. They offered a 2015 kid recently. They’re interested in 2015 guys and, maybe I’m second on their list or something like that -- we’ll see.”
Eager to prove himself with an unmistakable chip on his shoulder, Kearns and his family know a thing or two about the Wolverines, mainly about a former quarterback from the state of California that constantly used the underdog mentality to prove himself time and time again, at all levels of football.
“Michigan’s always been one of those schools that I liked because they had a famous, California kid that went to the school named Tom Brady, right?” said Kearns. “Nobody had heard of him but went to Michigan, worked his way up the depth chart, and the rest is history.
“I’m pretty familiar with the tradition that they’ve got. With all of the stuff while Bo Schembechler was there and my grandpa, who loves marching bands, said that that was one of the things he always wanted to go to and watch that Michigan marching band -- that it would be a sight to see.”
Kearns has already laid eyes on two of Michigan’s future quarterbacks, 2013 signee, already on campus, Shane Morris, from a camp over a year ago. This year at the Elite 11, Kearns was able to get a good feel for what current 2014 Michigan quarterback commit Wilton Speight brings to the table as well.
“Looks like they’re transitioning to the pro style offense,” said Kearns. “I saw the Michigan commit this year too, big, thick guy -- he looks like a full back out there,” he said. “He’s a load but he’s got a big, strong arm too.”
Kearns lead Foothill to the second round of the playoffs as a sophomore, the furthest the program has been in the postseason since all the way back in 2006. Maintaining a true team mentality, Kearns is in the process of scheduling camp visits to several schools this summer without disrupting the 7-on-7 schedule with his high school squad. Michigan could be one of the schools Kearns camps at, but as of right now Texas and Georgia are the only ones set in stone in June and July.
Still early in the process, Kearns says he already informed his parents there’s no guarantee he stays on the west coast to play college ball. Having been on unofficial visits to UCLA, Stanford, and California to date, Kearns plans to trip around the country looking to get the right feel.
“It’s just one of those things where it’s got to be the right fit off the field, where I can spend four years of my life, feel like it’s the right place, and not feel like a stranger or homesick,” said Kearns. “On the field, a place where I have a relationship with the coaches and feel like every morning I can wake up and meet with offensive coordinator, watch film, and make sure we’re on the same page, and a relationship strong enough where I listen to him and he listens to me.”
Still waiting on scholarship offers to come, when they do, Kearns doesn’t plan to change a thing, constantly willing to outwork any and all other players out there.
“Even if I get the offer it’s not like I’m going to stop working and stop working hard,” said Kearns. “Football has been a part of my life long enough where I love playing the game, going out and just throwing the ball, and playing with my best friends, going out there on Friday nights or whenever I play -- it’s just a fun game. There’s nothing like it.”
Below are highlights of Kearns from his sophomore season.