Not every player that will be drafted this weekend will have played college football at one of the programs in the big six conferences in college football. The path to the NFL is easier for the players of the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big 10, Pac-10, and SEC, but for every big school success like Peyton Manning there is a player like Marques Colston, who played his college football at Hofstra.
One of the players that is trying to make the leap from one of college football’s mid-major conferences to the NFL this year is Kelvin Beachum Jr. Beachum played his college football at Conference USA’s, SMU.
SMU was once a national football power capable of producing one of the greatest running backs in football history, Eric Dickerson. Then in 1986, scandal broke at the SMU campus and the program was given the death penalty by the NCAA.
In 2005, the SMU football program was given a second chance by Conference USA. In 2009 and 2010 the Mustangs won Conference USA’s western division and won bowl games both seasons.
One of the reasons for the turnaround at SMU is Beachum. He was a top recruit in the state of Texas and decided to be a part of rebuilding the SMU program. After redshirting his freshman season, Beachum came back to play every single game during his college career.
Beachum was named All-Conference USA as a junior and a senior and earned an invitation to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Beachum is aware of the uphill battle that players from Conference USA face in their journey to the NFL and told ProPlayerInsiders that the most important thing for a player from a small conference to achieve is dominance each time the ball is snapped.
“If you are coming from a smaller conference and the perception is that the talent isn’t as great as some of the other conferences you need to make sure that you dominate each and every play,” he said.
Beachum’s dominance in college has resulted in him being ranked as one of the top 20 offensive tackle prospects in this year’s draft. Projections have Beachum being drafted as high as the fifth round or as low as being signed as an undrafted free-agent after the draft.
Beachum isn’t too concerned when he ends up being drafted or if he ends up being drafted at all. “All that matters to me is that I get a chance to end up in a camp,” Beachum told ProPlayer Insiders. “I know that if I get to go to camp I am going to make the team.”
Beachum isn’t going to sit around for three days waiting for his name to be called. Instead, he says that he will be working on his car with his Dad so that it’s ready to take him wherever he needs to go to make his NFL dreams come true.
One of the things that will help Beachum at the draft is his high moral character. Beachum has a strong religious faith and looks forward to playing the drums at church every Sunday.
As for SMU, the program has fought its way back from the death penalty to accepting a spot in a big BCS conference. Starting in 2013, SMU will begin to compete in the Big East. Future recruits won’t need to worry about shaking off the small school label like Beachum was forced to do.
Beachum talks about his experience blocking draft prospect Dontari Poe from Memphis. Poe has scouts divided about where he should be drafted, but Beachum says that from the first time he seen Poe on film he knew he was going to be difficult to block.
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