No scholarship offers but certainly not lacking in motivation, 2015 Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill high school quarterback Kyle Kearns is embracing his recruiting process.
Finishing his junior season at Foothill with an 8-3 record, losing to 2014 five-star running back Joe Mixon and Freedom high school in the playoffs, Kearns threw for 2,300 yards passing including 19 touchdowns and a 65-percent completion rate.
“I thought that the game really slowed down this year, just maturing in your second year, more command of the offense,” Kearns said in a phone interview Wednesday. “You really, each drive matters, and you take it play by play; if you’re moving the chains and protecting the football you’ll end up in the end zone.
“Protect the ball and move the chains.”
6-foot-3 and 185-pounds, Kearns has been on the receiving end of high major division one interest for over a year now, recently visited by coaches from Oregon and Arizona State following the dead period, Michigan assistant Dan Ferrigno made it to Foothill Tuesday to meet with Kearns’ coach.
“The contact with Michigan has been really good,” Kearns said. “I contacted Coach Nussmeier. Coach Nussmeier was recruiting me to Alabama last year and so I’ve had a relationship with Coach Nussmeier and I also have a relationship with Coach Ferrigno when he came by last year.
“When he stopped by today I was really happy to see that.”
As Michigan continues to evaluate and extend offers to 2015 quarterbacks, Kearns says Coach Ferrigno laid out the potential for a scholarship offer from the Wolverines.
“Coach Ferrigno has been the one that’s kind of talked to me about where I stand but he’s basically just been saying they really like my film,” Kearns said. “But Coach Nussmeier only offers quarterbacks that he’s seen.”
According to Kearns, new Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is expected to be at Foothill Tuesday to meet with his coach.
Heavily recruited by coaches and schools primarily running spread offenses or pro style attacks, Kearns remains open to all possibilities at this point but believes his skill set caters to one over the other.
“I’m a pro style guy,” Kearns said. “Oregon came by and I run a high 4.7 so I’m not immobile, I can run, but I’m not Marcus Mariota with a 4.4.
“I’m mobile enough and can escape the rush and keep moving the chains and get yardage downfield. I think I’m more of a pro style guy but I can play out of the shotgun as well.”
Asked which schools he feels could be closest to pulling the trigger on a scholarship offer, Kearns pinpointed two perennial powers.
“Tennessee and Michigan,” Kearns said. “Those two are, I’ve had relationships with those coaches for the past two years now and just been, I think it’s getting to that point where as the 2014 class kind of wrapping up on signing day, that they’ll move on to who they’re looking for in 2015.”
Should a scholarship offer come from Michigan, Kearns already has a plan of attack in place.
“I think if things worked out and they offered, I’d have to talk it over with the my parents and with Coach Ferrigno who’s also touching base on that, but if Coach Nussmeier likes what he sees and offers me, the next step would be getting me to Ann Arbor, Michigan,” he said. “I’d want to sit down with Coach Hoke, see what Ann Arbor is like and see what the big house is like.
“That would be one thing I’d need to do before I commit to a school, is actually seeing what it’s like.”
Kearns remains unsure when he’d like to have a decision made, still in the earlier stages of his recruiting process, but laid out a decision-making criteria including his relationship with his future position coach, what his degree can get him after football, how competitive the program currently is, and the feel of a campus as a whole.
As far as the next stage in his development as a quarterback at Foothill, Kearns is upping his responsibility in hopes of having a big senior year.
“It’s not as much the physical tools,” Kearns said. “I think as a quarterback those are important but from a leader standpoint, I’m going to be one of the seniors on this team that needs to be in a key leadership role and as a quarterback that needs to be a reflection of your coach on the field.
“That’s something I want to hold on my shoulders this year, take accountability for the leadership of this team and hopefully do something special.”