by: Amy Clancy Updated:
LAKEWOOD, Wash. - While the entire Pacific Northwest is proud of its Seahawks, the city of Lakewood is really busting its buttons over wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Before Kearse wore Seahawks blue, or University of Washington purple, he wore the orange and blue of the Lakes Lancers, a AAA high school south of Tacoma.
Kearse’s coaches and teachers told KIRO 7 Reporter Amy Clancy on Wednesday, that they always knew Kearse would go places, but not because he was the biggest and strongest. He wasn't.
“When he first came in, he wasn’t the most talented kid,” Lakes High football coach Dave Miller today Clancy. “He was a little, scrawny 5-foot-6, 130-pounder. But you could see the focus and the desire. And the work ethic was amazing,” Miller said.
Kearse, a 2008 graduate, is a legend at Lakes - not just because he earned a scholarship to play for the UW Huskies, or even because he's now bound for the Super Bowl with the Seahawks. Kearse is a legend on his high school campus because of his laser focus and his work ethic, both on the field -- and in the classroom.
Teacher Michael Killen remembered Kearse as a “great kid” who studied hard. “He was always dedicated, and I thought if he made his mind up that he would definitely” get to the NFL, Killen said.
Teacher Robin Harrell still has Kearse over for dinner and called him an “inspirational kid. He deserves it, and you like to see kids that deserve it do well. It’s fun for us to say, hey, he’s a great kid. We love him!”
When Kearse caught a touchdown catch in the NFC Championship game, helping the Hawks earn a place in Super Bowl XLVIII, Coach Miller told Clancy that he teared-up. “I don’t know if there’s a much better feeling. It’s just been a real sense of joy and pride. I’m so happy for Jermaine, knowing how hard he’s worked,” Miller said. “It’s been great for all of Lakewood, and especially for Lakes High School.”