Kearse getting comfortable at free safety


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Jayron Kearse saw the first action of his Clemson career against SC State. (TigerNet Staff)
Jayron Kearse saw the first action of his Clemson career against SC State. (TigerNet Staff)

CLEMSON – After stepping foot in Clemson’s practice facility, it took Jayron KearseJayron Kearse
Fr. Safety
#20 6-4, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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very little time to realize that he was no longer the biggest, fastest or strongest guy on the field.

That wasn’t necessarily a shock to the freshman, but it did take some time for him to adjust to playing with the big boys of college football.

The 6-4, 205-pound safety from Fort Myers (FL) met with the media for the first time since arriving on campus and said that he was shocked when arrived on campus and realized that just about everyone and everything was bigger and faster.

“Probably the speed of the game has been the biggest adjustment,” Kearse said during Monday’s interview session in the WestZone. “In high school things are moving as fast and you might play some teams that are and good and some teams that aren’t. And, probably the size because now I’m going against guys that are bigger or the same size as me, and while I was in high school I was the biggest guy on the field. Everybody always used to say, ‘Jayron is huge!’ And now I get on campus and see guys and I’m like, ‘He is huge!’”

Add that to the fact that his body was taking a beating every day of the week, and Kearse need all summer and fall camp to adjust to playing college football.

“It’s real different. College practice feels like a high school game,” Kearse said. “We go hard every day. That’s a big difference because you body takes a lot and you have do the right things and go through the right therapies to get your body right by the time the game rolls around.”

When Kearse arrived on Clemson’s campus in June, he thought he would be playing the Nickel-SAM spot, but due to a lack of depth at safety, he is now focusing solely on the free safety position.

“I’m pretty comfortable right now. There’s not a lot to it, it’s just playing football,” Kearse said. “I’ve been moved back to playing free safety. I’m playing behind Travis and trying to learn things from him. I haven’t been playing Nickel/SAM too much lately.”

The strength and conditioning staff, as well as the coaches, are trying to get Kearse on the same level as the starters.

“It’s different. Everybody is bigger, faster and stronger so they have just been trying to get me to that same level so that there’s no drop off when Travis comes out and I go in or when I’m on special teams,” Kearse said. “I think it’s been a good adjustment.”


But, lucky for Kearse, he has All-American wide receivers to practice against.
“Me, personally, I think we have the best receiving corps in the nation with Sammy [Watkins], Martavis [Bryant], Charone [Peake], Germone [Hopper] and Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Jr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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,” he said. “You know, those are all good guys at receiver. They all have great routes. After going against those guys, I don’t really see too many guys that can run routes like those guys when I get on the ball so I think that helps me out a lot.”

Kearse suffered a separated shoulder in one the Tigers’ pre-season scrimmages when he battled freshman running back Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 195
Loganville, GA

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to the ground, but now that it is beginning to heal, he can focus on the more physical aspects of the game.

“I was [confident in the shoulder] until the game,” he said. “I was scared to have too much contact and popping it out again, but after I got in the game and made some tackles with it, that’s when I realized that it’s alright. It’s not 100-percent, but it’s good enough for me to go out there, make a tackle and play hard.”

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