Forrest City defensive end Tevin Beanum was not even sure he would be playing football two years ago, but he committed to playing college football at Arkansas on Thursday.
Beanum had not played since seventh grade when he decided to get back onto the gridiron for his junior year. He said getting used to playing football again was a bit of a struggle.
"It felt like my first year playing football at all because high school football is so much different than junior high football," Beanum said. "I just felt completely new to the game.
"I stumbled a few times in the season last year. Part of football is not just knowing what to do, but also having good instincts. You have to have a feel for the ball, know how to play things the correct way and I kind of figured that out when I played."
Still, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end recorded more than 50 tackles, five sacks and recovered three fumbles last season in limited starts. His first season back on the gridiron and his performance at an Arkansas camp in July were enough to earn him an offer from the Razorbacks.
"To get an offer from Arkansas was almost too good to be true," Beanum said. "I never expected that to happen. Two years ago, I didn't even know if I would ever play football again, but to have a chance to play college football is a big change and it's even better that it's from the team that I am a fan of.
"The first thing I did when I got the offer was tell my mom. She was actually sleeping at the time, but after that, she and I were both up for a couple hours.
"I was feeling, not an anxiety or nervousness, but a good feeling that I had accomplished something wonderful and that I was extremely blessed. I was happy and I woke up this morning happy until I got to football practice and realized I only had about two hours of sleep."
On his visit to Fayetteville in July, Arkansas' 14th commit said he felt at home.
"That was my first and only time that I've been up there for a college visit, but it was a learning experience and I got a feel for what the town and the people were like," Beanum said. "Forrest City is a small town where we have like maybe two or things to do, but in Fayetteville, there were all kinds of things to do all kinds of combinations of places to go to and there was just a lot that you don't encounter at Forrest City.
"I told my mom that it was extremely comfortable and I felt at home and she said she may have to move up there herself and live in a house across from campus.
"The people love the Razorbacks and they're a big town full of Razorbacks fans, but you also feel at home and if you like football, you can feed off of that vibe you feel up there."
While he is focused on his senior season with a team of players and coaches that he calls his "brothers and father figures," Beanum said he is also excited for his opportunity to play at Arkansas.
"I feel like it's a great thing to have the opportunity to play for the Razorbacks," he said. "I feel like when you go to college and play for a bigger school like that, you have a chance to make history. At Arkansas, you have a chance to make a run for a title and compete for championships.
"It would be something you could remember years from now. That would be something I could talk about forever and I would feel like I had accomplished something with that team."
Beanum commits to Razorbacks
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