Beckum back from San Antonio

Wisconsin's star recruit enjoys trip, turns attention to weightlifting and academics

Travis Beckum faced the nation's elite last week and did not blink. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker was one of 78 high schools seniors who took part in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, with a week of practices and other events leading up to Saturday's fifth annual high school All-American game.

"I can say I held my own," Beckum said. "I'm not a person to be intimidated by how big you are, how high your ranking is."

Beckum was widely respected in San Antonio for his skill as a linebacker and also received plaudits for his determination as a recruiter. His overtures to five-star linebacker Ryan Reynolds, however, fell a bit short, as the Las Vegas native chose Oklahoma over Wisconsin during Saturday's telecast of the game.

Said Beckum: "I don't know why he went to Oklahoma. They have a good football program but still. I thought my little speech that I gave to him would hold on but I guess it didn't. He was really pleased with his visit at Wisconsin and me telling him good things about Wisconsin….Everything doesn't go your way. I respect that he went to Oklahoma…

"I think that it was kind of a last-second thing that he picked Oklahoma over Wisconsin. I don't think he really had a favorite out of the two. It's just that I think it was a last-minute thing that he picked Oklahoma."

Last minute or not, Reynolds is set to be a Sooner. The Badgers, though, expect a gem of their own in Beckum.

The Oak Creek (Wis.) High School standout quit playing basketball recently in order to focus on weightlifting and school work. Beckum said he will easily qualify academically but that he wanted to devote more attention to his studies—Oak Creek has first semester final exams this week.

Beckum also wanted to depart the hard court so that he can add weight and build strength before heading off to UW in the summer. Beckum said he plans to weigh in at 230 pounds by the time his first fall camp rolls around.

"I got to gain some kind of weight," he said. "I mean [in] college I'm going to bulk up, I know that. I want to get even bigger before I go out there."

Beckum enjoyed his time in San Antonio and said his favorite part of the week was the game itself.

"Because I got to play basically the best players in the nation," Beckum said. "Just the opportunity to play in front of 30,000 plus fans."

"It was real fun," he said. "It was exciting."

The companionship of prep teammate Raymond Henderson made the experience more enjoyable, Beckum said.

"Getting to know new people, it helped that Raymond was with me," Beckum said. "Raymond's the one that, he's the more energetic one. He's the one that gets to know everybody. It was fun. I met a lot of good players and I'm probably going to be playing with these people as I go on to college and proceed with my next years."

Beckum was also proud to see Henderson, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end, verbally commit to Tennessee on live television Saturday.

"That was pretty tight. I knew where Raymond was going the whole time," Beckum said. "It was fun. I'm proud of him. That's my boy. I'm happy. Whatever he does I'm happy."

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