- Jon Mahoney, ESPNHS.com
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Jayron Kearse has never had to go far for expert advice.
And this offseason, Jayron is taking in any advice he can, from both his family and from coaches, as he learns a new position.
At Cypress Lake (Fort Myers, Fla.), Kearse played safety his freshman season and quarterback the past two years. But after transferring to South Fort Myers (Fla.) in January, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior has been prepping to play the spot he’ll be playing this fall and is expected to play in college — wide receiver.
Kearse has been able to focus on strictly on-field stuff the past few months after switching his pledge from Auburn to Miami in January.
Now he’s aiming to follow in the footsteps of current Clemson star Sammy Watkins as the next great receiver from South Fort Myers.
Get Familiar with Kearse before he heads off to work on his game.
ESPNHS: What was it like growing up with an uncle and a cousin in the NFL?
Kearse: It helped a bunch just knowing what it takes to get to the NFL. You’ve got to have great character, be a hard worker and be able to separate yourself from people who don’t have your best interests. Go your own way and don’t follow the wrong people. They also told me that average people don’t make it to the NFL. I’m trying to be more than average.
ESPNHS: How have they helped you the most?
Kearse: My cousin told me to base my decision on all aspects of college — the school, the environment and academics, not just football. Hearing it from him helps a lot. He never told me one time about going to The U. He said to pick the school that fits me the best. My uncle was basically the same. Jevon has told me to stay humble through the whole process. I don’t want to make it seem like I’m better than anybody else.
ESPNHS: What led you to switch from Auburn to Miami?
Kearse: When [Auburn] lost coach (Gus) Malzahn, I didn’t know what my role would have been with them. With Miami, I knew what I would come into and what role I would have based on the year Tommy Streeter had with them, because he’s a big receiver like I am. I like the coaching staff and what coach (Al) Golden is doing with the program. I also like their academic programs. They have one of the top communication programs in the country and that’s what I want to major in.
ESPNHS: How difficult has the transition been from quarterback to wide receiver?
Kearse: It hasn’t been too difficult because I played wide receiver in Pop Warner. But I’m a step behind when it comes to in-game experience as far as running routes. I run a bunch of routes and catch a hundred passes a day after I work out. The toughest part is the concentration. Running routes across the field when people are trying to take your head off is hard. I have people jump out at me when I’m practicing running routes.
ESPNHS: Will you miss playing quarterback at all?
Kearse: When I got to high school, the position they threw me at was quarterback. They wanted the ball in my hands so I could make things happen, so I understood why they put me there. I’ll miss quarterback a little, but it’s nothing I can’t get over.
ESPNHS: Do you feel any pressure to match what Sammy Watkins did at South Fort Myers?
Kearse: I think our playing styles are totally different. He has more speed, but I think I’m more physical. I’m not trying to live up to what he did. I’m trying to be the best I can be since this is really my first year playing wide receiver.
School: South Fort Myers (Fla.)
Position: Wide receiver