By Christina Rivers
Player: Kelvin Beachum, Jr., OT #68
Weight: 303 lbs.
Hometown: Mexia, TXl
College: Southern Methodist University (Mustangs)
The seventh round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 NFL Draft and son of Kelvin, Sr. and Culetta Beachum, Kelvin Beachum, Jr. made a statement in his first start in the NFL regular season. Beachum, stepping in for an injured Mike Adams, helped pave the way for the Steelers to be able to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20, on Sunday. A standout in high school and college, Beachum has shown that he has the skills and perception to have a great professional football career.
Playing football for the Mexia Black Cats, Beachum was allowed only one sack as an offensive lineman in 2006. He was named first-team All District 19-3A as a senior (2007) and second-team All District his junior year. He was also given a two-star rating by Rivals.com and Scout.com in football. Beachum also played basketball for Mexia High School.
After redshirting for the Southern Methodist Mustangs football team in 2007, Beachum started in all 52 games 2008-2011. Playing left tackle, he was key in the offense that was able to tie the school record of 29 touchdowns in 2008 and was named to the College Football Top Ten and the Pegasus News All-DFW College Football team. In his second season, Beachum was once again key in blocking for the Mustangs, who were able to set the school record for passing (3,666 yards), points (380) and total offense (5,093). Named to the second-team All-C-USA by coaches in the league, Beachum was one of only 12 student-athletes to receive the fall C-USA Spirit of Service Award and was named to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s All-Texas Team.
SMU again broke records in Beachum’s junior season and he earned first-team Conference USA following the season. His senior season, he was placed on the Lombardi Award and Outland Award watch lists, became the President of SMU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and named to the C-USA All-Academic Team.
During his years at SMU, Beachum also served as a student representative to the SMU Board of Trustees, was a member of R. Gerald Turner’s Commission of Substance Abuse, participated in the Student Affairs Leadership Council, the SMU Athletic Council and the Apple Committee. Beachum was honored by being asked to present the Commencement address to his fellow graduates of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Developments. Beachum earned an undergraduate degree in economics and then, during the NFL Combine, studied and earned himself a master’s of liberal studies degree.
After finding out he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Beachum gave some extra advice to Mexia High School students about life and aspirations to do more with their lives. He told Roxanne McKnight in an interview, “It’s a privilege to be drafted by the Steelers and to be an example to the young men in Mexia.” Beachum gave credit to God and to grades for his success. “Grades come first,” he said. “You can’t get to the NFL if you don’t go to college. Take it one day at a time. You have to dominate in football at the high school level first, and then you need to dominate at the college level – and then let God do the rest.”
Beachum impressed many at Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, before the regular season. Jim Wexell did a piece on him on June 13, in which Steelers veteran Trai Essex expressed how well they thought Beachum was performing. Trai Essex called him “smart” and said, “He has some really long arms and has a really good set at tackle.” His play was a two-edged sword; it was good enough for him to stay with the Steelers, but Essex was shown the exit. “One thing about learning is not so much about being able to engulf the information,” said Beachum, “but also to be able to regurgitate it, to teach it to someone else.” Essex did that for Beachum and he hopes to be able to get to that place himself.
Beachum saw his first NFL action against the Oakland Raiders on September 23. He played with the special teams and filled in at right tackle. On October 21, he dressed but did not see any playing time. On November 18, he spent time on the special teams and then filled in for injured right tackle Mike Adams. Beachum, many thought, was more likely to become a guard or a center in the NFL, but everything changed when Adams’ leg injury forced him to miss the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. With Maurkice Pouncey moving to left guard and the offensive line shuffled a bit due to the inability of Willie Colon to recover fast enough, Beachum made his first NFL start at right tackle. His individual performance as well as his team performance gave quarterback Charlie Batch the time and protection he needed to move the Steelers down the field, especially late in the fourth quarter, for the 23-20 win. Beachum was able to make important plays on the offensive line that helped Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman gain important rushing yards. On top of that, Batch didn’t have to worry so much about the right side of the line against a Baltimore defense that loves to put as much pressure on the opposing quarterback as possible.
With the type of work ethic Beachum has – staying late following practice, eating up game footage and visualizing the playbook – he will no doubt become not only a good football player, but a great one. The Steelers have had their share of troubles on the offensive line, and due to his efforts off the field to “get in the game”, it appears that Beachum will be looking at more time in the game and on the field as a result.
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Christina Rivers is freelance journalist and photographer with a life-long love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Credentialed with the organization, Christina provides a unique perspective gained through her knowledge and understanding of Steelers history, the Rooney family and relationships with past and present players. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.