BRANDON BEACHUM, LB, 6'1, 223, 4.65, YOUNGSTOWN (CARDINAL MOONEY HS), OHIO:
Talk about a guy who has it going. Brandon Beachum plays on a team that has won two of out last three state championships in Ohio, and he is drawing enough recruiting attention to keep him busy from morning to night. Beachum is regarded as one of the very best linebackers in the country, and all the while he is just working to get better every day before the start of his senior season.
"All the attention is a major compliment, but I don't take it personally," said Beachum. "I don't think I have proven myself to be one of the best in the country yet, but I think it is great that people think of me that way."
If anybody was born to be a linebacker it is Beachum. He is physical, aggressive and can run, but most of all he likes to hit. He could care less about stats, but it doesn't matter because you know he is always around the football. However, in the State Championship game, Beachum finished with 11 carries for 64- yards and one touchdown at running back. Then at linebacker he had 11 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
"I like the physical aspect of playing linebacker," said Beachum. "I like hitting people and just reading the field. It is hard to make mistakes on defense, especially when you have a good team because everybody is doing their assignment. And if everybody is doing the right thing then it is obviously easy to make plays. I think it is a lot more fun to play defense than offense."
Cardinal Mooney is one of the most prestigious high school football programs in the country. Of course, the Stoops brothers played their high school football at Cardinal Mooney and they learned football from their father, who was the defensive Ccoordinator at Cardinal Mooney. That brings Cardinal Mooney very close to the hearts of a number of Sooner fans across the country, and Beachum admits that playing football at Cardinal Mooney is special.
"It wasn't necessarily a huge thing when I started high school. I started high school at Poland High, which actually was a good situation also," said Beachum. "I just felt that was the best fit for me at the time. I ended up transferring to Mooney two years ago in November and it was the best move I have ever made. Our coach (Ron Stoops) is great and I am pretty sure it is a lot like it is for the guys at Oklahoma to play for Bob Stoops. I am sure he has a lot of energy and great insight on how to play the game and get better playing the game. Both have good schemes, they know how to win and they know where to play people."
Beachum says that Mooney's defense is similar to the one ran at Oklahoma. And we know around here that OU's defensie is set up for great linebacker play, so Beachum like playing linebacker in the Oklahoma defense?
"I love it because that defense gives the linebackers a great opportunity to make plays," said Beachum. "The defense is built for a linebacker. Everybody is making moves to get the ball coming in our direction and I think that it an awesome thing. I think the linebackers are the leaders on the defense and it gives us a chance to show what we can do."
Beachum has 15 offers at this point, but he is trying to keep an open mind.
"I don't have any favorites. I am pretty much open to everybody," said Beachum. "I am just grateful to the fact that somebody has taken the time to offer me. I think a lot of the time it goes unnoticed what people feel they deserve it. I am just grateful to be in the position that I am in."
Beachum has recently been offered by LSU, West Virginia, Michigan State, Colorado and Pittsburgh. Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, Oklahoma and Indiana were the first three schools to offer him. However, when Oklahoma offered Beachum took notice.
"I think it is a great program," said Beachum. "I think Coach Stoops has done an amazing job down there. As far as winning percentage, he has one of or the very best in the country. I think he does a great job with his players down there. I think their team is well coached and just a bunch of hard-nosed guys who like to play football."
Beachum also is impressed with the linebacker tradition at OU.
"I think their linebacker coach (Brent Venables) is tremendous," says Beachum. "It is just their discipline and their tactics that they use, and just knowing where to be at just the right time is amazing. Coach Venables is a great coach at Oklahoma. That is great from my perspective because I can look at their linebacker corps and say that is something that I want to work for and the way that I want to play the game. That is especially true because we run the same defense, so I can watch Oklahoma play and watch how their linebackers read certain plays and relate that to our defense."
Oklahoma has offered four players from Cardinal Mooney. OU has offered Beachum, linebacker Michael Zordich, defensive back Daniel McCarthy and linebacker/defensive end Taylor Hill. The fact that all four could to go a great program like Oklahoma and play together has peaked their interest. So will all four visit OU?
"I definitely think Oklahoma is going to be one of our visits," said Beachum. "Especially since the four of us got that offer to play at Oklahoma. We could all four take that visit together. I think that is going to great for all four of us to visit that great program."
Would the Cardinal Mooney quartet consider playing together in college at Oklahoma?
"It is definitely something that we would want to do if the school was a good fit for all of us," said Beachum. "A lot of things would have to fall into play, but I think that will be hard to put together. We all have a lot of great offers and it all depends on where we all want to be. But if Oklahoma is the best fit for all of us it would be something special for us to all go to college and play football together. I am pretty sure that all four of us are going to visit there officially."
Since Bob Stoops is from Youngstown and his brother still coaches at Cardinal Mooney, does that give the Sooners any kind of edge in the recruiting process?
"I think he realizes that Ohio has a lot of hidden talent that a lot of other coaches from other state's wouldn't know about or have heard about if they didn't know it was already there like Coach Stoops," said Beachum. "He is from this area and he knows about the great football tradition that we have, and I think he takes advantage of that. People around here know about Coach Stoops. They remember what kind of player he was and what kind of person that he is. That ties into a lot around here when people find out that he is recruiting us because they know that he is a great person who knows his football."
Beachum attended the U.S. Army combine in San Antonio and has gone to combines in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Akron. He can bench 340 pounds, squats 550 and he has posted a 31-inch vertical jump. Beachum attended the Penn State camp before his junior year.
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