One of the top junior running backs we've seen out West this year is Loyola's Drake Beasley.
Beasley is having a big junior season and has rushed for 860 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games this year. We had a chance to see him in action last weekend against a very good Gardena (Calif.) Serra squad and Beasley went for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
It wasn't just the yards that impressed us, it was how hard Beasley ran in that game. He carried the ball 31 times against a defense that is loaded with Div I talent at all three levels and never flinched. We knew he had speed and quickness but he ran hard between the tackles, finished his runs falling forward and showed surprising power for a sub 200 pound back.
On Thursday, Beasley landed his first scholarship offer and you can bet that list will grow very quickly.
"I picked up an offer from UCLA," Beasley told us Thursday night. "I was almost speechless, I couldn't believe it. I had been in contact with KP (Kennedy Polamalu) and my coach told me I needed to give him a call. He had already messaged me about going to their game this weekend and I wasn't expecting anything big and then all of a sudden, he told me they were offering.
"It's a huge offer and I definitely have high interest in UCLA. I've been to games before but have never been to the campus so I'm going to try and get over there and take a visit sometime soon. It's a great school that is strong in football and academics so I'm going to give them a hard look for sure."
At this point in his recruitment, Beasley said he's still very open and doens't have any leaders.
"I'm in no rush to make a decision," Beasley said. "When I was young, I liked USC a lot but then when I was in Junior High, I pulled back a little and told myself I didn't want to have biases for any sch
ool and wanted to keep an open mind to everyone. So from then on, I started to watch football without favoring any one and I think that's been good for me.
"Last summer I camped at USC and Arizona and I'm going to try and get out to a few more this summer. I have family in Arizona and used to live there until about 1st grade so it would be cool to go back there again. I'm starting to hear more from Cal and I've heard a lot of great things about Washington so that would be another school I would love to check out."
As for a timeframe for a decision, Beasley said it's not something he's focusing on too much right now.
"I just want to play the process out and see who else comes after me," Beasley said. "I understand how the numbers work and know you can't wait forever because you might lose your spot so I could see myself doing something before my senior year.
"Like I said though, I'm in no rush right now and want to explore all my options and hopefully a few more offers will come in now that I've gotten that first one. I'm just going to stay focused on my junior season and hopefully we can finish out with a great year."