High school football players go through a lot in preparation for the season.
They give up sleep in favor of early morning conditioning workouts. They give up lazy summer days in favor of practices and team camps. And they do it with anticipation for the season-opener building by the day.
That's why it will be so hard when Brian Beckmann watches his teammates at Overland Park (KS) Blue Valley West take the field Thursday night versus O'Fallon (MO) Christian Academy without him.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Kansas commitment is recovering from a shoulder injury, and will miss Thursday's opener.
"I went through so much hard work over the summer, and then we started football, the team starts coming together and the hard work is definitely paying off," Beckmann said. "So it's definitely frustrating, because it's hard to look your teammates in the eyes and tell them you can't play the first game."
The Jaguars will also be without the services of senior offensive dynamo DeSean Warren, who will be out for an extended period due to an injury of his own.
Even so, Beckmann is proud of the steps his team has taken in the off-season.
"My team has been working really hard on improving in just every aspect over last year," he said. "Our team is much more well-behaved, much more disciplined, much better focused."
Since committing to Head Coach Turner Gill and the University of Kansas in July, Beckmann has been able to focus on his senior year - both on the field and in the classroom - free from the worry of figuring out where he'll play his college football.
He's stayed in touch with the Kansas coaches, and last weekend took an unofficial visit to the Lawrence, Kan. campus to take in a practice - and the big lineman liked what he saw from the current Jayhawks.
"I think they're definitely going to be competitive with every team they play," Beckmann said. "And I think they all know they have a chance to win every game, and that's probably a big difference from last year."