Beckum grew up Milwaukee and played high school football at Oak Creek. He was rated as the No. 1 high school prospect in Wisconsin by some scouts. Twice he was an All-State Selection and topped his high school career off by becoming the unanimous State Player of the Year in 2004. What makes his story so different from every other recruit is he earned all that praise while playing defense.
While playing football in high school he never even considering playing college football. He loved football and had little dreams of playing in the NFL, but he never took it seriously.
The next year he came to Wisconsin as a defensive end and linebacker. During his freshman year he rarely played on defense and special teams. The following year, coach Brett Bielema asked Beckum if he wanted to play tight end for the Badgers. Needless to say, Beckum agreed.
"The next person in line has to step up," says Beckum. "That's the thing about college football is they always say you're an ankle sprain away from starting and that's how I look at it."
What is shocking is the short amount of time he needed to make the adjustment to playing offense. His approach to switching sides of the ball only gave him a new challenge, not a problem. He took a straightforward approach to becoming a great tight end.
"It's something that I intended to work at, to make the transition and see if it worked out. It worked out pretty good. It starts from blocking, then going to route running and just catching. I definitely have room for improvement in my all-around game."
It just became one of many changes he has had to make. His coach always believed Beckum could make the switch because he has so much flexibility in his approach and skills.
"We used Travis as an H-Back," states Bielema. "We felt with his body type, and the way he can move and run he's gonna fit into that role pretty good."
Beckum's body is what gains him that initial advantage every time. Combine his 6'5" and 220 pound frame with his 4.4 speed and 345 bench press and you have a physical marvel at any position.
"I use it to my advantage," says Beckum. "There's certain things that you look at, and you have to put yourself on top of that defender and believe they can't hold me, because I'm faster. It's how you look at it, and how your presence has a big impact on how successful you are."
Beckum has had many leaders that he can follow who played at Wisconsin before him. They can help him grasp the other the mental aspects of playing tight end. In his freshman year Owen Daniels and Jason Pociask were both leaders on the offense as tight ends. They split their duties on those past teams, with Daniels mostly filling in as receiver and Pociask doing much of the blocking. Beckum hopes to cover both responsibilities.