We’re breaking down what we think will be Texas’ starting lineup, a combined effort from Mike Craven, Brian Davis and Danny Davis. We’re doing two a day, one offensive and one defensive player, in alphabetical order on both sides.
Senior tight end, 6-3, 255
High school: Tampa Plant (Fla.)
Signing class: 2014
Career games: 37
Career starts: 16
Career numbers: 12 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns
Who he was — before Texas
Beck is a tight end now but left high school as a three-star middle linebacker. He signed with Charlie Strong in Strong’s first Texas class of 2014 but committed to Mack Brown; in fact, he may have been Brown’s final recruit — the same week that Brown was fired, he was in Tampa visiting Beck.
Beck left high school listed as a 6-3, 227-pound linebacker. He’s now a 6-4, 255-pound tight end. He played four years of varsity football at Tampa Plant, starting his final two years.
He was ranked as the nation’s No. 24 middle linebacker and the No. 76-ranked prospect in Florida for the 2014 cycle, per 247Sports’ composite. He was in on the same UT class that included Jerrod Heard, Poona Ford and the Foreman brothers. It ranked 17th nationally. The Longhorns did sign a tight end that year — junior college signee Blake Whiteley, who’s no longer in the program.
In his last two years at Plant, Beck recorded 236 tackles and 13 sacks. As a junior 35 of his 126 stops were tackles for loss. He was a first-team all-state selection and won a state championship in 2011. He picked Texas over Stanford.
Who Beck has been here — so far
Beck was moved to linebacker before the 2014 season and found a home. Entering the 2017 season, he’s a four-year contributor who started 16 of the 37 games he’s played in. He played in all 13 games of 2014 but failed to record a reception; he was used mostly as a blocker and on special teams Beck started 10 of the 12 games as a sophomore in 2015. The Longhorns didn’t focus on using the tight end much in the passing game. Beck ended the year with eight catches for 77 yards.
Not much changed as a junior. Beck was a reliable blocker who offers physicality he inherited from his time playing linebacker in high school. It hasn’t translated into the passing game, though. Beck started just three of 12 games in 2016. He finished the season with four catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Beck was forced to miss 2017 due to an injury.
Who Texas needs him to be this season
In short, a do-everything senior leader.
Coach Tom Herman’s offense needs a dynamic tight end, and the unit was left short-handed after Beck and freshman Cade Brewer were both injured last season. Beck’s nagging foot injuries will be something to watch all season long, but he claims to feel as good as ever after redshirting last season.
This is an athlete who has truly enjoyed his time at Texas. He’s a member of the Texas Cowboys and one of the oldest players on the roster. This season, expect to see him as a full-time blocker, either out of the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. If he stays healthy, the Horns will have a rock-solid, dependable player in the lineup.
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