Applewhite stopped by Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill on Tuesday to evaluate the sophomore during his athletic period. After school ended, Kearns called him for a conversation that lasted nearly 45 minutes.
“He came through and was really impressed with what I did,” Kearns said. “I threw for him during our PE period. He said he was really impressed with my anticipation on my throws and my arm strength, my footwork and just all the stuff they really look for in their quarterbacks.”
Before the day was over, Applewhite made sure the 6-foot-3, 174-pound pocket passer knew he had an invite to camp this summer.
That works for Kearns. He’s currently planning to attend Texas’ one-day summer on June 2, and he’s ready to prove he’s worth offering.
“A Texas offer would mean the world to me,” Kearns said. “That’s been my goal ever since I was 6 or 7 -- I wanted to play big-time college football. It doesn’t get any bigger than Austin, Texas, where their program is the centerpiece a big football state.”
Kearns threw for nearly 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 2012. He has yet to pick up his first offer but is drawing considerable interest from UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Georgia, Texas A&M, Michigan and several other schools. Georgia offensive coodinator Mike Bobo is visiting Foothill on Thursday to evaluate Kearns, and the list of coaches who have stopped by this spring is long.
The Longhorns have offered only one 2015 quarterback thus far, athlete J.W. Ketchum (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall), and are eyeing several in-state options.
So why is Applewhite in California? Kearns found himself asking that question, too.
“It’s kind of a unique situation with Texas going outside of Texas and venturing off to California for a quarterback,” he said.
During their chat, Kearns said Applewhite mentioned he’s also planning to check out four other California QBs: Kevin Dillman (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), Jake Browning (Folsom, Calif./Folsom) and Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco).
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There’s a good chance Kearns will end up visiting Texas A&M, Georgia, UCLA and several other schools this summer. The fact Applewhite was wiling to fly out to meet him and establish a relationship confirmed to Kearns that a trip to Texas will be necessary.
“Coach Applewhite showing a lot of interest right off the bat. If he’s flying out to California and watching me throw during school, that shows me he’s interested,” Kearns said. “You’re not going to hop on a plane to go watch some average guy throw or waste your time watching someone you doesn’t care about.”
Kearns has never visited Austin, but his dad has in the past and had nothing but good things to say about the city.
Now that an opportunity might be on the horizon for Kearns to seriously consider the Longhorns, he’s definitely intrigued.
“I’m looking forward to going to Austin and seeing the overall campus, seeing how the coaches work, what the facilities look like and starting a relationship with the coaches,” he said.
He’s sticking to a fairly simple philosophy when it comes to his recruitment right now: Kearns will commit whenever he finds the right place at the right time.
After only one day of knowing Applewhite, Kearns said he can already tell he’d love to play for the Texas coordinator. But he’ll need an offer first, and he’s looking forward to trying to earn one.
“If it’s the right fit, if they offer me, if the situation is right and if I think it’s a perfect fit, I will definitely commit,” Kearns said. “The timetable doesn’t really matter to me. I’m going to visit the college before I commit to it. If it’s the right place, I’ll know it’s the right place to go.”