BYU football: Brayden Kearsley taking a page from Jake Heaps' playbook

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 9 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

Quarterback Jake Heaps at the BYU football practice field in Provo on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

PROVO — With the commitment of Davis High's Troy Hinds, the 2012 BYU signing class looks to rival the signing class of 2010. That year, BYU added the nation’s top-ranked quarterback recruit in Jake Heaps among other blue-chippers on their way to a 22-ranking nationally by scout.com.

Hinds' commit vaulted BYU up to a 30th-ranking nationally, according to scout.com, which it bases on a class‘s collective star rankings. Hinds, being rated as a four-star prospect, obviously made for BYU’s leap of seven spots just by his commit.

It’s unclear if BYU will be able to improve much on that ranking as the scholarship spots are close to being full for the 2012 year, with 16 commits. Regardless of what else BYU is able to bring in, 2012 is shaping up to be a very strong class.

One of the bigger recruits still on BYU’s board is Pleasant Grove’s Brandon Fanaika. Recently, Fanaika spent most of a weekend with the first commit of 2013, Brayden Kearsley, who is doing his best to help secure his commitment to BYU.

Kearsley, who is from Portland, Ore., first became acquainted with Fanaika during BYU’s junior day, which was the day they both received their offers from the BYU staff. Since that time, they’ve kept in close contact and have become good friends.

“I text him, call him or whatever at least once a week,” said Kearsley. “We get along real well, and we’re just good friends. I obviously would like him to come play with me at BYU, and I’m working on convincing him, but more than anything, we’re just good friends."

Kearsley, like Fanaika, is an offensive line recruit, but unlike Fanaika, he chose to short-circuit the recruiting process by committing to BYU the second he was offered. In doing so, he made himself the first commit of 2013, which is something he’s very excited about.

“Being the first commit, it allows me a chance to get started early in helping get the best players I can to BYU,” he said. “It’s important to me and any player to play with the best, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Recently, Kearsley and his family made the trip to Provo to visit his sister, who had just had a baby. Before his trip, he mentioned to Fanaika that he’d be in town and that they should get together and hang out.

“We only planned on meeting up for one day, but we ended up hanging out together for practically the entire time I was in Provo,” said the 6-foot-5, 277-pound Kearsley. “When I mentioned to him that I was going to BYU’s first practice on Saturday, he agreed to come and really liked it.”

Fanaika has always had a genuine interest in BYU, and according to Kearsley, that interest grew over this past weekend.

“He told me that it’s probably now down to Stanford and BYU, but we’ll see,” he said. “I really want him here, because he’s obviously a great player that can help us, but even more so, we’re good friends, and we get along great. It’s important to get along.”

Kearsley hasn’t just set his sights on Fanaika though. He’s been out recruiting as much as possible since the day he committed to BYU coaches back in early June.

In doing as much, he’s taking a page from Jake Heaps, who took that initiative for the 2010 class, right after he committed in June 2009. Heaps was sort of the pioneer at BYU in taking upon himself the mantel of heading the recruitment efforts among those yet to sign with the program.

In doing so, Heaps was able to help out big-time in getting together one of the top classes ever signed by BYU.

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