Don't be surprised if the name is familiar to you, because his cousin is “The Freak” Jevon Kearse. Desmond, who plays for Dunbar HS in Fort Myers, Fla., doesn't shy away from comparison to his cousin. He invites it.
When asked what player he would compare himself most to, Kearse responded instantly, “My cousin, Jevon.”
Kearse said he's going to play the rover position at Maryland, and he and defensive coordinator Don Brown talked about instituting the change, since the Terps didn't have a rover in their defensive scheme last year.
“The rover position still lets me rush the passer,” said Kearse. “I'll also get out and defend the flat. They run a 3-4 right now, and I'll be that fourth outside linebacker.”
Rushing the passer is Kearse's forte, and he's accumulated 41 sacks in the past two years. Last year, Maryland's sack leader was Adrian Moten, with six.
Kearse is undersized for an outside linebacker (he's 6'2”, but only 185 lbs.) but runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, which is a ridiculous time for a pass-rushing specialist. Think of a 300-pound offensive lineman trying to get in front of him - it's probably not going to happen.
Kearse said he's hitting the weight room trying to add more size to his lean frame so he can take the punishment of the next level.
“I'm a little undersized right now,” he said. “I've been working on everything. Every day of the week I work out except Wednesday and weekends. When I get up there I know they're going to give me an eating plan, too.”
Aside from his speed, Kearse said he's also good at getting leverage and catching the ball.
Maryland's class is the 36th-best in the country according to Scout.com, and along with Kearse, has added a lot of depth to the defense. Other commits include, LB Javarie Johnson, Clarence Murphy, David Mackall, Nathaniel Clarke, Jeremiah Wilson and Titus Till. That group hopes to turn around a defense that ranked last in the ACC last year.
“I think we can do it,” Kearse said. “I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to do everything I can to help and turn it around.”
Kearse will be making his first visit to College Park on Friday, and said he's excited to see the campus and get a feel for the atmosphere.
“I just want to see how the school is,” said Kearse. “I know the education's good, I just want to look around, see what it's like.”
Desmond has certainly benefited from his famous football family member, and Jevon has given him some sound advice.
“He just always tells me to stay focused and don't think it's all about football,” he said. “Get your education and football comes next.”