Beaverton, Ore. — The fact that top offensive line signee Brayden Kearsley leaves for Provo today is nothing short of remarkable.
Kearsley is a 6-foot-4, 285 prospect who is widely considered the crown jewel of BYU’s 2013 signing class and as one of the top offensive line recruits nationally for the same recruiting year. The four-star prospect held offers from schools such as Washington, Arizona State and Oregon State, among other BCS programs late in the recruiting process before resting on BYU.
Kearsley will arrive at BYU early this week and begin working out with the team in hopes of making an immediate contribution. He’ll stay with relatives before joining other arriving freshmen in starting classes on the summer block later this month
Those who follow BYU recruiting know Kearsley’s unique recruiting story well.
After becoming BYU’s first commitment for the 2013 class Kearsley waffled significantly on that commitment. An avalanche of interest from Pac-12 programs, among other factors, weakened his resolve to hold his Cougar commit to the point where he had all but decided to sign with local favorite Oregon State.
An emergency recruiting visit from newly-hired offensive coordinator Robert Anae worked to bring Kearsley back after convincing him that BYU was the best place for him due to its unique social aspects, but due to football aspects as well.
“It felt completely different than other visits I had with BYU coaches and in a very good way,” Kearsley said about the visit. “Don’t get me wrong, though — I love all of BYU’s coaches and admire all of them. I admired the heck out of coach Webb (Mark Weber), but coach Anae really talked to me about stuff I needed to hear.”
Kearsley recounts his decision to re-commit to BYU here.
In covering BYU recruiting for the last ten years I can’t recall a story quite like Kearsley’s. The rule of thumb for BYU, and most college programs, is that recruits who determine to sign elsewhere after committing to a certain program, almost always follow through with that determination.
BYU’s unique recruiting strengths certainly played in its favor, but Kearsley needed to be reassured of the football aspects following BYU’s subpar offensive line performance in 2012. Anae reassured him of the football aspects — presenting and then convincing Kearsley that BYU presented the complete package.
Anae’s ability to swing Kearsley back to BYU speaks loudly with regards to his recruiting prowess and the confidence he instills on players, both current and future, that he will get BYU’s ailing offense back on track.
So how likely is it that Kearsley will provide immediate contributions as a true freshman?
He’ll have just short of two months to fully acclimate himself to BYU’s workout regimen and Provo’s thin air that many incoming players underestimate. Should Kearsley put in the work necessary during the next two months it won’t be a surprise if he sees significant playing time as a first-year player given his athletic credentials.
“I want get there and bust my hump like I never have before. I plan on being aggressive in every drill and bringing a nasty attitude, but in a good way,” Kearsley says. “it’s up to me to motivate myself and my motivation is simply my desire to play. If you want to play, you have to work. That’s what coach Tujague is all about and I trust him fully as a coach. I know that if I put forth the work that there’s a decent chance I’ll play this year. That’s my motivation.”