A recurring series where we will profile every player and coach on Maryland’s roster, counting down to kick-off against Miami. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile one of the best pass rushers on Maryland’s roster.
Desmond Kearse, Freshman (RS), Outside Linebacker
Ratings: Three stars by Rivals; three stars, #107 outside linebacker by Scout; three stars, #61 defensive end by ESPN
40-yard dash time: 4.49
High School Stats (senior year): 78 tackles, 17 sacks, two blocked punts
High School Stats (junior year): 29 sacks
College Stats (through three games): Two tackles
High School: Dunbar High School (Fort Myers, Fl.)
How’d He Get To College Park?
Kearse, the cousin of former All-Pro defensive end Jevon, put up arguably the most ridiculous stats for a high school player I’ve ever seen while he was at Dunbar. Lightly recruited out of high school (his only other FBS offers were from Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky), a lot of major programs were scared off due to his size. As a junior, he weighed in at only 150 pounds, but after an intense training regimen two summers ago, he got up to 180 for his senior year. Kearse committed to Maryland literally moments after he was offered a scholarship by the Terps, and after playing in the first three games of last season (starting one) he suffered ankle and shin injuries and was granted a medical redshirt.
More after the jump.
“The Little Freak”
Being granted the medical redshirt.
Don Brown leaving. Kearse is the quintessential Brown player.
Arbitrary Top Eight List:
Linebackers on the 1998 College Football All-America Team:
1.Chris Claiborne, USC
2. Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M
3. Al Wilson, Tennessee
4. Jeff Kelly, Kansas State
5. Jevon Kearse, Florida
6. Adalius Thomas, Southern Miss
7. Lavar Arrington, Penn State
8. Mike Peterson, Florida
Kearse over takes Mario Rowson for the backup STAR slot, records at least five sacks, and shows pass rushing abilities reminiscent of his cousin.
Kearse gets hurt again and is unable to overcome his size barrier in ACC play.
Desmond Kearse has only two things standing in the way from him becoming a dominant ACC pass rusher – his size and injuries. Injuries can happen to anybody, so let’s just deal with the size issue. Kearse came into Maryland at 180 pounds – 30 pounds more than what he weighed during his junior year in high school, and only 35 pounds less than what his cousin Jevon weighed coming into college (Jevon was three inches taller). The older Kearse ended up gaining 50 pounds before his career was over, and while I don’t think Desmond will go under that drastic of a change, I’m sure Maryland’s coaches have been trying to get him to put on weight constantly. The guy plays like a prototypical D-End and he has safety speed, so if he’s able to get a frame that even remotely resembles a linebacker than he can be a force in this league.
Kearse currently stands behind Mario Rowson and starter Kenny Tate on the depth chart at STAR and that makes sense. No argument needs to be made for Tate, let’s get that out of the way. But while Kearse may be the perfect player for the STAR position eventually with his insane combination of speed and pass rushing skills, Rowson is a better fit physically for the role right now. Even though Mario is only listed at 6’3″ 190, if you’ve ever seen the two guys you know Kearse has a lot more muscle to put on before he catches up to Rowson.
No matter if Desmond Kearse is second or third on the depth chart at STAR, he will see a lot of playing time this year. He’s one of the brightest prospects on Maryland’s defense, and if developed properly he can end up as an all-conference player. Don’t be surprised if Kearse ends up taking over for Rowson as the No. 2 guy at STAR, but don’t be disappointed if he stays at third, either.
Our next player’s high school coach shares a last name with the protagonist of one of my favorite novels.