Hundreds of football recruits are busy scheduling and taking official visits this week. Tavares Kearney wishes he fell into that category.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior linebacker and three-star recruit from Tucker (Ga.) High is busy studying. He will be taking the ACT and SAT over the next two weeks. This will be the second time he has taken the SAT and the first time he has tackled the ACT.
"I'm just hoping I do well on the tests, because it will really affect where I can and want to go," Kearney said. "I start taking a class after school on Monday that helps you prepare for the SAT."
Kearney is waiting to set any official visits until after the tests, but that hasn't stopped coaches from coming to visit him.
North Carolina receivers coach Gunter Brewer dropped by Tucker to talk with Kearney Wednesday. Brewer's message was centered around academics.
"Coach Brewer talked to me about my GPA and doing good on my SAT," Kearney said. "He basically said they want me to play at UNC and at outside linebacker. He told me to look at other colleges and to base my decision on where I want to be the next four years and not just on winning."
Mississippi State is reportedly coming to Tucker on Friday to see Kearney and teammate Brandyn Young, a senior running back who recently de-committed from Maryland. Kearney and Young are good friends and are being recruited by some of the same schools, including Mississippi and Mississippi State.
Kearney said Ole Miss, Mississippi State and UNC were his favorites three weeks ago, but that is clearly changing with the recent news that the Rebels fired head coach David Cutcliffe.
"I heard about that and that's not too good," said Kearney about Cutcliffe's departure.
Kearney has also started to consider Louisville, who recently contacted him.
Kearney's prep career and Tucker's season came to a heartbreaking end in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs when perennial power Statesboro won 15-14 on a 34-yard field goal as time expired. Statesboro ended Tucker's season last year in the state semifinals with a 27-24 win.
"That game was like the state championship to us," Kearney said. "We made some mistakes and never should have put ourselves in that predicament at the end."
Kearney has begun to receive many postseason accolades. He was recently nominated as the Defensive Player of the Year from Cobb County, one of the most talent-rich areas in the state, and he has been invited to play in the GACA North-South All-Star game.