Like many high school athletes Tomas Kearney figured he could play NCAA Division III college football because he had a successful four years a Xaverian Brothers HS in Westwood, Mass., and had been contacted by coaches from Amherst and Wesleyan. Even though the Eph football staff had made no contact with Kearney in the recruiting process he figured, "if the Amherst and Wesleyan coaches were showing interest, I could play at Williams," Kearney said.
Only about 5% of high school athletes, however, go on to compete in college.
What Kearney found out the hard way was that he did not appreciate that NESCAC had a 75-man roster limit that would keep him off the Eph roster his first year. Not being on the 75-man roster also meant Kearney could not even play on the JV team.
It took Kearney about a month to get over the feeling that maybe he was just not a good enough athlete to play football at Williams, however, around that same time he started preseason track workouts and began to get his athletic confidence back.
With track progressing well and realizing what it took to be a college athlete Kearney started having thoughts about giving football another try. He remembered that many of his classmates were surprised he did not make the team in his first try and they were encouraging about his chances.
Kearney casually mentioned his interest to assistant football and baseball coach Marshall Creighton as their paths crossed in Towne Field House late in the winter. Creighton, the Eph receivers coach, had sent Kearney emails when he had been cut telling him to keep working hard.
By late spring of 2010 Kearney had made up his mind to go out for football.
Buoyed by his confidence from competing in track Kearney worked his tail off over that summer continuing his weight and speed workouts for track and getting in top shape.
The change in Kearney was noticed immediately by all of the Eph coaches. At 6' 4" with plenty of speed to run the deep routes and the ability to out jump defensive backs, Kearney stood out.
As a sophomore it took a while for Kearney to learn the playbook and get used to the audible calls at the line of scrimmage, but as long as the ball was in the air to him or near him he knew what to do.
On the football field Kearney has hauled in 29 passes for 582 yards and six TDs.
Kearney has twice earned All-NESCAC honors in the triple jump and in 2010 he earned All-America honors at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Once cut in football, Kearney has stood out on both Eph teams since posting strong triple jump marks, all highlighted by some of the most amazing catches by an Eph on the gridiron