A Different Look from a New Beck

The BYU football roster currently has three guys with the last name Beck. Two of them will graduate after this season, but the Cougars will get another Beck next season to ensure that the surname is still well represented. Southern California product Tyler Beck will do something that none of BYU's current Becks do: play defense.

Just three plays into the 2006 season, the influence of senior outside linebacker Tyler Beck was felt on the Vista Murrieta Bronco defense. Bolting off the left end from his outside linebacker position, Beck made a jarring hit four yards deep in the backfield on the QB, knocking the ball loose and then recovering the fumble himself. Vista Murrieta scored a few plays later and the stage was set for another dominating performance.

Leading Vista Murrieta with two sacks, Beck helped his Broncos wrap up an undefeated regular season and conference crown Thursday night. With excellent talent on both sides of the ball, the Broncos are 10-0 over-all and continue to work hard and plan to make a deep run into the southern California CIF play-offs.

Beck verbally committed to BYU during the summer over offers from Utah, Portland State, and amidst a hard push from the Nebraska Cornhuskers. According to Beck's father Maril Beck, Nebraska coaches told them that Tyler was one of their top recruiting priorities at linebacker and really wanted his son to come play for the Cornhusker "Black Shirt" defense.

After making an unofficial visit to Utah and BYU over the summer, Beck had an opportunity to meet Coach Bronco Mendenhall face to face. Beck plans to make his official visit to Provo in January along with many other 2007 commitments in January.

"I really liked Utah, but then I met Coach Mendenhall and he changed my views on a lot of things and I wanted to be a part of it," said Beck. "He definitely has a vision of being the best and he sounded driven and motivated. [I liked] how much he involved the gospel and missionary work through football. If the Prophet had a football team he would coach and run it the same way."

Maril Beck said on one hand it was originally a tough call for Tyler to commit to BYU over Nebraska when simply comparing the collective coaching experience of the Coach Callahan led staff to that of Coach Mendenhall's staff.

"You have a lot of NFL coaching experience at Nebraska, and I don't think BYU has as much NFL background," said Maril before going on to explain, "Coach Mendenhall earned the commitment of Tyler and we're fully invested."

Beck was interested in local UCLA until he attended the Bruin's camp over the summer. UCLA came on to Beck late in the recruiting process. At the camp the Bruin coaches told 15 of the players in the mix that they had only one more scholarship to give and 13 were not going to be offered. The last offer came down to Beck and another linebacker. UCLA ended up offering the other linebacker, most likely for his size, and Beck was asked to walk-on.

When UCLA did not offer, Beck lost a lot of interest in the Bruins. Beck noted that "UCLA also seemed to cool off once a mission was brought up." Nebraska was accepting of Beck's mission plans as long as he told the coaches when he would be serving.

After watching Beck play, it is obvious that his talents are just those a Bronco Mendenhall defense rewards – effort, hustle and commitment. Vista Murrieta loves to use Beck in multiple schemes. For most of the first game Beck was rushing off the edges getting pressure on the quarterback or running back up field. The Vista Murrieta coaches will line up Beck on either side of the defense so the opposing quarterback would have trouble recognizing where he would be coming from.

Beck constantly makes good pushes up field on run plays and chases the quarterback on pass plays, allowing the defensive ends to provide containment so Beck can wreak havoc. Beck will often be dropped back into coverage as well, showing his open field pursuit. Beck hustles to the ball where he either makes a tackle or is there to help clean up.

Beck's ability to not give up on a play and continue "motoring" was evident on one play where the running back ran a draw right up the middle while Beck rushed from the outside. Beck was 10 yards behind the running back when he realized the ball had been handed off for a quick hitter up the gut. In a split second, Beck reversed his field and followed the RB through the hole into the secondary, catching him from behind, and making the tackle.

Beck is between 6-foot and 6-foot-1 and weighs 205 pounds. He has not been timed in the 40 since last season when he recorded a time around 4.7. His quickness is not in question. He has tenacious pursuit and should be able to run with any D-I tight end downfield. He is a strong and consistent tackler. Beck does not miss many tackles once he makes contact with the ball carrier. Although he is best used coming off the edges against running teams, he will play a lot in coverage against three and four receiver sets. Occasionally, he can be beat by quicker running backs or wide receivers with flashy moves, but it is rare to see that happen because he executes his assignments with great discipline.

Beck has continued his impact play the last few games. In the third quarter against San Pasqual, Vista Murrieta trailed at home. Beck forced a critical fumble that led to the winning touchdown. Last week he was credited with 21 tackles in a critical game against Temescal Canyon.

Coach Patrick Higgins is Beck's primary contact at BYU. Some have speculated that Beck could end up playing at safety for the Cougars. One observer even commented that Beck reminds him of a young Aaron Francisco. BYU coaches tell Beck that they still have him slated as an outside linebacker, but Beck said, "I will play wherever they need me on the field."

Playing all over the field is not new for Beck, who started as an option quarterback his sophomore and into his junior year when he also starred as a linebacker and on special teams. Beck is now seeing more time at the tailback position and he said the Vista Murrieta coaches plan to use him more as they get deeper into league play and the playoffs. He has sure hands and is hard to bring down, so he sees most of his carries in more crucial short yardage situations.

Special teams rely on him as well. Beck is fearless on kickoff coverage as he barrels into any opponents attempted wedge. Most of the time he is blowing up the blocking scheme by taking out as many as three at one time, allowing his teammates to make any easy play if he cannot get to the ball carrier himself.

It should not be a side note that Beck's humble attitude and very positive personality comes as a result of influences in a well respected and valued family in the Murrieta area. Maril and Tyler's mother Diane have had a marked influence in their children's lives. Most people who know Tyler will immediately comment on how he is just "a great kid," and they always refer to him off the field first.

Beck credits two older brothers for paving the way for him athletically and helping to encourage him to be a better player. Oldest brother Preston was also a good high school linebacker and recently returned from a mission and attends BYU-Idaho. Nathan was a quarterback but suffered multiple injuries and currently serves on a mission in Argentina.

Dave Barney writes for the Press-Enterprise where he follows prep sports in Southern California.

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