Kelvin Beachum is trying to finish up his master's degree.
But things just keep getting in the way.
Like the NFL Draft, for example.
Trying to make it to graduation on May 13, Beachum, who graduated early last year with a degree in economics and has been working on his master's in liberal studies, has been stuck in a see-saw of sorts ever since the semester began.
The day after SMU beat Pittsburgh in the Compass Bowl in January, Beachum flew out to Indianapolis to start training for the NFL Combine. While there, Beachum studied in between and after workouts, skyped in on class lectures and took tests online.
Typical life of a graduate student, right?
Beachum continued that hectic routine after the Combine as he flew around the country, meeting with different NFL organizations.
Months later, his hard work paid off and he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 41st pick of the seventh round (248th overall).
"There are a lot of emotions going on," said Beachum, who was a four-year starter on SMU's offensive line. "Everything is moving fast and I'm finding a way to finish my master's. I'm right here at the end and I have a lot to do. I'm soaking it all in."
Beachum said being drafted by the Steelers and the fact that he'll be at rookie minicamp this weekend hasn't hit him yet.
"Just to get to get a scholarship to a Division I school is tough," he said. "Just to start at a DI school for most of four years is tough. Then to be selected to go to the combine is tough and then to be selected to a NFL team, and the Steelers at that, is tough. So I'm trying to stay calm and keep it all in perspective, but at the same time, you try to enjoy the moment as much as possible. I'm really trying to enjoy the moment and embrace what's going on right now."
Obviously that's hard to do when graduation is around the corner. Beachum will get back to Dallas on Sunday, tie up all loose ends master's-wise and then graduate from SMU on May 13.
When Beachum got the call from the Steelers, he was on the other line with his old offensive line coach, Adrian Klemm. The two are as close as real brothers could be.
"He knows me better than most know me," Beachum said of Klemm.
Before the Steelers called, Beachum said he and Klemm were discussing undrafted free agent opportunities. Beachum had about eight offers and the two were going through each team, weighing the pros and cons and Klemm was providing insight as to where he though Beachum would fit best.
"While we were talking, I saw ‘PA, USA' show up on my phone and I said [to Klemm], ‘It's the Steelers, let me call you back,'" Beachum said.
And a couple minutes later, Beachum was talking to head coach Mike Tomlin, offensive line coach Todd Haley and different members of the Rooney family who own the franchise.
Beachum had no idea he'd end up with the Steelers, as they hadn't called him at all the week leading up to the draft. He went up for a pre-draft visit weeks ago, but didn't have a feeling one way or another about ending up with that organization.
"The percentages of a team taking you is pretty high when they bring you in," Beachum said. "But you never know what's going to happen on draft day."
The Cowboys and Buccaneers were also interested in the former Mustang.
Beachum called Klemm back and the coach said the Steelers would be a perfect fit.
"After that, my phone was blowing up," Beachum said. "That night I had over 200 text messages, over 40 missed calls and my voicemail was full."
Beachum was by himself at his apartment when all this came to fruition and called his family in Mexia, who were all together, anxiously awaiting positive news.
"It was a proud moment, a very humbling moment," Beachum said of when he called his relatives. "My family went ballistic. But I'm just happy to be an influence to a lot of the kids. They had a chance to see me grow up, go off to college, see me do the things that I've done and be an influence. "
Beachum has always said that after his NFL career, he'd perhaps like to be an athletic director or the superintendent of a school district either in Dallas or his native Mexia.
But until then, Beachum is a Steeler and couldn't be more excited that he was chosen to be part of a franchise with one of the richest traditions in the NFL.
"It means the world to me," he said. "To be associated with an organization that strives for excellence, that's good on character, that's good on tradition, that's good on history, you can't help but want to be in that type of place.
"My grandparents have been married for over 50 years, my parents have been married for over 20 years, my dad has had his own business for over 20 years, we've been living in the same house for over 20 years, so to be associated with the Steelers who have built their franchise on character, on integrity, on stability, on organization, to be at a place like that, it's just a joy and makes me want to be a Steeler for life."
Once up in Pittsburgh for good, Beachum will be making his return to Texas sooner than perhaps initially expected as the Cowboys host the Steelers on Dec. 16.
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