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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 5, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Counting down the Top 10 Huskies — No. 3: Jermaine Kearse

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We continue the countdown with a player who, now that Jake Locker is gone, may elicit the most debate among UW fans — receiver Jermaine Kearse.

Yes, he’s been a second-team all-conference pick by coaches the last two years. But, many argue, he’s dropped way too many passes along the way.

And yes, he became just the fifth UW receiver ever to catch passes for more than 1,000 yards last season with 1,006 (the others are Reggie Williams — who did it three times — Mario Bailey, Jerome Pathon and Andrew Riley). But, others would argue, he got pushed around and held to just three receptions in two games against Nebraska, the best secondary UW faced last year.

All true, and even Kearse admitted at mid-season last year he had to get more consistent catching the ball.

But as noted above, for all of his foibles, Kearse has been one of the most productive receivers in UW history. He’s sixth all-time in receptions with 133 and should easily move past Paul Skansi into second this year — Skansi had 161 (Williams seems unreachable with a career-best 243).

Kearse is also fourth all-time in yards with 2,172 and again should move easily into second (Bailey, with 2,306) behind Williams (who again seems probably safe with 3,598).

And he’s second in touchdowns with 22, with a chance to catch career-leader Bailey, who had 30.

It’s that latter stat that may best encapsulate the career of Kearse. Sure, he may not make every catch. But when he does, it’s often a pretty big play, such as the game-saver against Cal pictured above in a Dean Rutz photo.

It’s probably not overstating things to say UW isn’t in a bowl game last year without Kearse, who along with the aforementioned catch against Cal that set up “God’s Play,” also made the game-winning TD receptions against Oregon State and WSU. (And don’t forget his conference Player of the Week performance against Syracuse, a game that was close until he broke it open with a few catch-and-run plays in the second half).

Certainly, other than the Nebraska games, Kearse’s play seemed to typify that of the team as a whole.

He made 40 of his 63 catches in the team’s seven wins, also had 693 of his 1,006 yards in those wins and seven of his 12 touchdowns.

Obviously, Kearse and the rest of UW’s returning receivers will be pushed greatly this season by talented newcomers such as Kasen Williams.

UW streamlined its receiving rotation quite a bit last season, but likely will expand it this year to ensure enough opportunities for everyone — vets and newcomers alike. That could mean returners such as Kearse don’t necessarily see their stats jump this year, if at all.

Still, Kearse remains the most proven receiver UW has and it’s hard to envision the Huskies being successful this year without him.

Here’s the rest of the list to date:
No. 10: PK Erik Folk
No. 9: DE Hau’oli Jamora
No. 8 OG Colin Porter
No. 7: DL Everrette Thompson
No. 6: LB Cort Dennison
No. 5: LT Senio Kelemete
No. 4: CB Desmond Trufant

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