In Focus: Brandon Beachum

With spring practice rolling along, we take a look at another one of Penn State's 2008 early enrollees. How is the running back doing early in his Nittany Lion career?

THE PLAYER:

Brandon Beachum, RB (6-foot, 214 pounds)

Brandon Beachum and Michael Mauti are the most recent in a long line of early enrollees for PSU in recent years; a group of players that includes Justin King, Dan Connor, and Derrick Williams. Previously we provided a progress report on Mauti. This time we take a look at Beachum.

Weighing in at 222 pounds when he arrived on campus, Beachum shed some weight since January, but has a "good physique" and "looks the part." As one observer said, "He looks like he has the frame to add some size up top, in his shoulders, chest and back. His legs look good, but [the staff] will want him to add some mass to help run over guys."

THE ASSESSMENT

Approach: Described as a "heads-down" player, Beachum is said to be quiet and "taking it all in," as one observer explained. "He's pretty intent on listening to the coaches and veterans. He's worked quite a bit with Evan Royster, asking questions about the playbook and various situations."

Build: Projected as a running back, some observers say that he has good physical size and speed, but he is shorter than they expected. "He looks like he's built more like a fullback," one observer said. "But he seems quick on runs, so I'll have to see him more with the ball."

Mobility: Beachum showed good endurance during winter conditioning runs and managed to consistently keep up in the sprint sessions. He's "light on his feet," and has "got a nimble stride." Beachum is "not a true speedster," and was clocked in the 4.7-second range in the 40-yard dash since arriving on campus. His lower body is "really put together" and "he draws a lot of power from his legs," as one observer said. In the winter one area of his conditioning focus was with his legs to "help with his lateral cuts — strengthen up those hips and thighs so he can shift direction more easily."

Attitude: Described as "upbeat" and "coachable," Beachum is said to have connected with a variety of teammates, particularly his fellow players in the backfield. "He's worked quite a bit with [Evan] Royster and Stephfon Green and also talks about blocking technique with Dan Lawlor at times."

Improvement: Beachum has focused this spring on picking up the playbook, "understanding the blocking scheme of the [offensive] line to understand and recognize how lanes develop," and "his blocking technique." Like Mauti, he's working to improve his overall strength and adjustment to the "sheer speed of the game."

Impact: In terms of impact, Beachum will more than likely redshirt given the unit's current situation with the likes of Royster and Green at running back and Lawlor at fullback. But as one observer said. "He's basically one injury away from seeing time, which is why they brought him in early to get ready."

Stay tuned to FightOnState.com for continuing exclusive, original coverage of Penn State football and spring practice.

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