Deon Beasley Shapes Up As Two-Way Star

Will Four-Star standout WR/DB Kenneth Deon Beasley play offense or defense at Texas? The answer is 'yes.'

They don't call the three-year starter from West Orange Stark 'Deon' for nothing. And although 'Deon' is actually a middle name (rather than a nickname), it is an appropriate moniker made fashionable by former Dallas Cowboy/Florida State Seminole Deion Sanders. About the only thing that Beasley didn't play during his prep star days was trombone.

"In high school, I played quarterback, wide receiver, safety, cornerback and running back," Beasley laughed, after Inside Texas caught up with him following track practice this week.

Then again, we already knew that. What inquiring minds want to know is where Mack Brown and company intend to position the versatile 3A Honorable-Mention All-State pick when he arrives on campus this summer.

"Honestly, I really don't know," said Beasley, who lists himself at 5-11, 170. "They told me that I would play but, where I will play, I honestly don't know. I wish I could tell you but, honestly, I don't know."

Coaches will decide where to slot Beasley during August camp, Brown said earlier this spring. Beasley's TD reception in the U.S. Army All-American Game last January was part of the reason Longhorn coaches have reconsidered their initial projection of recruiting Beasley solely at DB. The explosive freshman (clocked at 4.38) will also get a serious look on return teams, Brown said.

Beasley has yet to receive a Texas playbook, either offensive or defensive. Greg Davis' playbook has been likened to the Houston phone directory (in terms of sheer volume) and has been known to make many a young head swim upon initial inspection. But Beasley expects a relatively smooth transition from his first-team All-Greater Houston days to his freshman campaign. After all, he'll only be expected to play one, or two, positions in college.

"There's a big difference between college and high school. In high school, you had to learn a ton of different positions. The majority of the time, in college, you learn one or two different positions. I played a lot of different positions in high school but, in college, the majority of the people focus on one position. If you're lucky, you focus on two."

In this instance, the Horns are the fortunate ones. Beasley is, arguably, the most intriguing and explosive recent signee not named Sergio Kindle, Eddie Jones or Jevan Snead. Recruited as a DB, Beasley's stint in the West Orange-Stark secondary was typically limited to third- or fourth-downs. WO-S moved him from wideout (801 yards and 17 TDs on 33 catches) his junior season to QB in 2005 just because they wanted the ball in his hands on every play. The result: Beasley completed 116-of-204 passes (56.9 percent) for 1,928 yards while rushing 244 times for 1,468 yards (6.0 ypc) and 23 TDs. He steered his squad to a 12-1 state semi-finals berth on the way to District 24-3A MVP honors.

Longhorn coaches will look at Beasley at both CB and WR, Brown said on Signing Day. Since then, Brown has bemoaned the fact that his secondary was thinned by injuries during spring drills. Meanwhile, Brown has told incoming WRs that they will likely redshirt this season. The more likely scenario is that Beasley will get a closer look at CB -- initially, at least.

Where would Beasley prefer to play? Inside Texas asked about reports that his preference is on offense.

"I prefer to play wherever it gives us a chance to win a national championship. It's all good to me. I prefer to play on both sides of the ball. But, wherever I play, if it helps us win another national championship, then I'll want to play there for all four years. And, if they're ready for me to change, I'll do that also."

Beasley reports that he is in frequent contact with Co-Defensive Coordinator/DB Coach Duane Akina and DE Coach Oscar Giles, who recruits his area. The follow-up from Texas coaches, Beasley said, is what sets the Longhorn staff apart from other programs.

"That's one of the main reasons why I committed to Texas. It was because of these coaches. Most coaches just get into it (recruiting) when they have to and, afterwards, they're done. But not them (Giles, Akina). They're more like father figures. They're going to tell you what's right, regardless. I don't know; it's just different. I've been recruited by a lot of coaches, and those two just stood out immensely."

Beasley's list of suitors included the usual suspects: virtually all of the Big 12 programs, LSU, plus a late push from Miami after he gave Texas his verbal one year ago this month. His desire to remain close to his mother (in-state) and to play for a program that should annually be in the thick of the national championship hunt, were also deciding factors in Beasley's choice of the Longhorns.

For now, Beasley intends to arrive in Austin on May 29 to enroll in the first Summer Session. He will participate in voluntary workouts while majoring in Sports Management. He will, in all likelihood, endure the disorienting transition from a 3A program to one of the nation's largest public universities and its defending national champion football team. But, then again, one aspect of it won't be so tough.

"If you focus on just one or two positions," he reiterated, "it's a lot easier."

Especially for a kid named Deon.


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