Tyler Beasley does not even have a star rating from the recruiting services, nor is he on the national radar ... yet.
But the Out-of-Door Academy quarterback has his first Division I football scholarship offer.
On March 22, the University of Tennessee became the first major college to offer the dual-threat quarterback.
“I was psyched, I was very excited. I didn’t know how to react,” Beasley said. “It was incredible.”
Beasley gained recognition through former Southeast High, Florida State University and professional quarterback Adrian McPherson, who has worked with the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder the past three to four months.
On what he has learned from McPherson, “Everything really, football, ball placement, straight up practice, reading defenses,” Beasley said.
“It’s really just fundamentals,” McPherson said. “He’s a talented kid. He’s very athletic. Just working on throwing mechanics and teaching him the game of football so he can be comfortable and use his athletic ability, which is a huge benefit for him.”
McPherson first saw Beasley as an opponent during a 7v7 game last summer.
“We played against him last year, and I thought I would love to work with him,” McPherson said. “I saw the potential there and I saw a few areas where he could have used a little bit of help, so I just reached out to his father to see if there was an opportunity to work with him.”
The Volunteers’ quarterback coach who offered Beasley is Chris Weinke, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida State and ex-IMG Academy National coach.
Beasley is also receiving interest from Florida Atlantic University. In addition, the junior has attended football camps “up and down the East Coast” according to former Out-of-Door football coach Chris Kempton.
“I really saw him grow and mature. That was a big thing from the previous year,” said Kempton, who stepped down as Thunder coach in February. “He spent a lot of time in the summer working on his craft.
“He worked extremely, extremely hard on all the things he needed to work on. He had a lot of coaching during the summer on his throwing mechanics. He put in a lot of time and effort in the weight room and on his conditioning.
“You just saw a more mature, physical, more confident kid than the year before.”
The transformation turned Beasley from a drop-back quarterback to a dual-threat signal caller.
In 2018, Beasley completed 50.8 percent of his passes (92-for-181) with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions while rushing for 38 yards on 28 carries and a score.
Last year, he rushed 101 times for 368 yards and eight touchdowns while throwing for 10 touchdowns on 70-for-154 (45.5 percent) accuracy.
“The year before we didn’t use him running the football very much at all,” Kempton said of Beasley’s sophomore season. “We were worried if we lose him where do we go next?
“This past year, he could have played running back, he could have played receiver, he could have played any position for us and would have been the best player on the field. But he had to be a dual-threat quarterback for us.”
The Thunder finished 6-3 last year, losing in the first round of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs to Fort Myers Gateway Charter.
“Overall it was a pretty good season,” Beasley said. “This year could be better.”
“Obviously, he goes to a smaller school, so most of the time he’s been the best player there,” McPherson said. “Now he’s out working with a lot of other guys around the county, so he’s able to compete against other athletes as gifted as he is. That brings out the competitive side in everybody.”
Currently, the Thunder do not have Kempton’s replacement in place. Spring football certainly is up in the air with school being out because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It’ll hurt a little,” Beasley said if spring practice is canceled. “Without that practice it sets us back a little bit. Our team is still getting work in, a small group of us.”
Beasley has been working out with McPherson and a group of other football players in the area in the morning and throwing on his own with a few teammates in the evening.
“We do a whole day of work every single day,” said McPherson, who limits his group to around eight.
Included in the workouts are boxing sessions and work with weights.
“I can strengthen my arm a little more,” Beasley said. “It’s pretty good right now, but I think I can fix it up a little bit.”
If he takes Tennessee up on its offer, Beasley would be joining former Riverview High and Venice High two-sport standout Malachi Wideman.
“I practiced with him once ... very exciting,” Beasley said. “I’ll be practicing with him more in the future.”
Like Wideman, Beasley also played basketball at Out-of-Door as another way to stay in shape.
“Our basketball coach likes to run us a lot,” Beasley said of Thunder hoop coach Tim Garrett. “That’s all we do.”
Beasley has quarterbacking in his blood. His great grandfather was Otto Graham, a three-time champion with the Cleveland Browns, five-time Pro Bowl quarterback and a former Sarasota resident who died in 2003.
“I got to meet him when I was younger, but I don’t really remember,” Beasley said. “It’s just great to think about how far he got and the standards he sent in the NFL.”
Beasley still has a “small script” Graham gave to him.
“What game day looked like, a pregame script,” Beasley said.
Graham also serves as inspiration for Beasley.
“It’s pretty crazy to think about how good he was,” he said.
Now, Beasley can be an inspiration to other small-school players trying to get noticed by a Division I program.
“A hundred percent ... getting an offer being at a small school is a way to show kids it’s not impossible to get an offer like that,” he said.
Kempton is not surprised Beasley received a Division I offer.
“I thought he might get a shot. I’m surprised it came this early,” Kempton said. “I thought he had a chance knowing the type of commitment he makes to his craft.
“He hasn’t scratched the surface of how good he is going to be. His best days of football are way ahead of him. Tyler is going to be a big, big kid. He’s a great competitor.”
Source: Herald Tribune