Desmond Kearse went from an unknown virtual non-entity - his best offer was from Middle Tennessee State - to a somewhat hot commodity really quickly. Like, within a day quickly.
First up, his coach's words: [emphasis mine]
"In my 36 years of coaching I have never seen someone come off the edge like Desmond," said Vogt.
"He was dominant in that game. They couldn't stop him and had to continually double team him," said Vogt of Kearse, who will play the rover position in college.
Rover, eh? Since when does Maryland run a defense involving the rover? Now, apparently.
For those not well-versed in defensive football terminology, the rover is a sort of hybrid linebacker/safety type of position that varies his main position based on the personnel on the field (which is to say that, if there are four defensive backs, he'll move up a little and become more of a linebacker, etc). It's perfect for his athletic ability and versatility - I have a feeling he shares some traits with cousin Jevon. Oh, and the original name of the "rover"? That would be Monster.
As cool as having someone lightning fast playing the Monster would be, I'm still guessing that his final position won't be decided until he gets on campus. He simply has way too much versatility to pigeonhole already. Probably a redshirt candidate to either learn a new position or bulk up quickly. But hey, I'd be fine throwing him out there on 3rd down and saying "Go wreak havoc."
Next up, ESPN evaluated him pretty quickly, and I like what I see. He's a 78 and a 3 star; that's about the same as Titus Till, one of the best two or three players in Maryland. The eval is Insider, but I feel comfortable posting the intro to it:
"Speed, speed, speed."
And indeed, Kearse has speed. Later on, ESPN said "It's comical at times how fast he's moving." Won't be funny for ACC linemen, I presume.
Here's an interesting piece of info: his time at Scout was listed at 4.5, which is pretty fast, and ESPN corroborated with a 4.49. What I didn't see (because I don't read well enough, apparently) was that that was electronically timed, not hand timed. And that makes a big difference.
The majority of 40 times are hand-timed, meaning you have a guy with a stopwatch at the 40 yard line. Electronically timed means that we're breaking lasers and whatnot. Electronically timed 40s are somewhat rare. Hand-timed 40s are traditionally faster, usually to a non-negligible extent.
For what it's worth, the way the National High School Track Association deals with the difference is rounding a hand-timed time up to the nearest tenth (ie, 4.46 to 4.5) then adding another .26. Is that to say that Desmond Kearse would've run a 4.23 with a stopwatch? No, but it is to say that he's abnormally fast. For the record, Jeremy Maclin, the supposedly "blazing fast" WR from Missouri, ran a 4.48 at the combine last year.
And this guy could be a defensive end.
He still needs to bulk up to play basically any of the possible positions he can play, but that's just speed you can't teach. That's nutty athleticism.
Checked his stats last night, too: 25 sacks his junior year. In 12 games.
He's not going to turn a program around or anything like that, but this is a guy with some absurd athleticism that marks a significant change from the past in how defense has been recruited. With him, Javarie Johnson, and David Mackall, Maryland has three elite pass rushers, all in the same class. And that makes me happy.