Linebacker was clearly a priority for the NC State coaching staff and they've made huge strides in addressing those issues by landing three of their top targets. Because of proximity, many Pack fans may be more familiar with Dwayne Maddox of Crest High School and Terrell Manning of Scotland County. However, there's no drop off with William Beasley from Milton, Fla and he's established himself as the anchor of the Panther's defense. Head coach Mike McMillion recently told Pack Pride that his star ‘backer set his sights on becoming a big time player and through hard work has accomplished just that.
"William's just a force on the field and a force in the weight room," said McMillion. "The Pensacola News Journal just picked him as a super senior. But William comes from a strong community. Football means a lot to this community and he's lived it since he was little boy. I've know him a long time. He's watched people like Finnegan (Cortland Finnegan- Tennessee Titans) and Damon Nixon (Middle Tennessee State) playing ball and he's always aspired to be a great player and leader at Milton High School. He's got great size and strength. He cleans 350 pounds. He's a big, strong kid and he's a force on the field."
While Beasley would likely project as a middle linebacker in a traditional 4-3 defense, he's proven to be a versatile player at Milton and shown the ability to line up at just about any LB spot. That versatility is what McMillion feels makes Beasley so effective.
"We run a 3-5-3 so we move him around," said McMillion. "If you don't move him around, they'll go the other way. He can play inside or outside. It just depends on the scheme you face. He's a versatile player. We have used him at tight end occasionally. We may or may not do it this year but he's does a great job when he's been called upon to do other things."
A starter since his sophomore year, Beasley has shown the speed and quickness to play outside and the toughness to mix it up in the middle.
"He's good on defense," said McMillion. "He's good coming off the edge and good up inside so there's a lot of things that he's capable of doing. I guess the coaches will determine where he fits their scheme and use him accordingly."
Off the field, Beasley is a class individual that is as effective in the classroom as he is on the gridiron. McMillion said State will be getting a solid student in addition to a standout football player.
"William is fully qualified at this point," he said. "Our attitude is we're going to be successful because we have good people He has good citizenship and commitment. The baggage he carries is all good."
One of the keys for Beasley ending up at NC State was the work of Wolfpack linebacker's coach Andy McCollum. He has a long relationship with Milton High School and has impressed McMillion with his up-front style.
"He's a great guy," said McMillion. "We met at a clinic this winter and I told him I had two or three guys he needed to look at. I told him about a player a while back and I said he's going to go unnoticed. He's Damon Nixon at Middle Tennessee State and I think he's one of the top three kick returners in the nation. I certainly trust coach McCollum and am proud to send players his way and I think he trusts me if I tell him I've got one or not. It's a good relationship."
In a preseason scrimmage last Thursday, Beasley tallied five tackles before leaving the game early due to an injured wrist.