Odell Beckham Jr.
Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
Louisiana State University Tigers
New Orleans, Louisiana
Isidore Newman High School
Beckham is the type of player that just wants to contribute on the football field, willing to take on any task the coaches assign to him. Whether it is lining up at split end, or flanking out, or moving inside to the slot position, Beckham has the experience, knowledge and savvy to catch the ball no matter where he lines up. He's even proven to be a capable ball-carrier on reverses and shows a strong enough arm to deliver on the option pass.
When the offense leaves the field, Beckham then prepares for his "other tour of duty," by serving as the Tigers' kickoff returner, in addition to handling punt return duties. The LSU multitalented athlete went on to place second in the nation while leading the Southeastern Conference with 2,315 all-purpose yards. His total ranks third on the SEC's single-season list behind Randall Cobb (2,396 yards, Kentucky, 2010) and Darren McFadden (2,310 yards, Arkansas, 2007).
Beckham ranked among the nation's leaders while placing in the top-five among league players with a 26.41-yard kickoff return average third-best season average in SEC history, minimum 30 returns) and an 8.89-yard average on punt returns (third in the league). He also ranked fifth in the conference with eight touchdown catches and was fourth in the SEC while finishing 22nd in the nation with 1,152 receiving yards.
Beckham was joined by Jarvis Landry (1,193) in helping the Tigers become one of five teams among the 123 major colleges to feature more than one receiver gaining 1,000 aerial yards during the 2013 season, and the only one to be featured in the SEC ranks. With his complete body of work, the junior was named the Paul Hornung Award winner in what would be his final college season.
The Hornung Award is given annually to the nation's most versatile player by the Louisville Sports Commission. "It's just an honor and a blessing to even be mentioned with the other guys who were up for the Hornung Award," Beckham said. "I am proud to accept the award and thank the committee for recognizing me. It means a lot to me personally because I have worked extremely hard, long before this season started. I had great teammates help me along the way, especially on kickoff and punt returns. None of the opportunities to display my versatility would have been possible if it weren't for my teammates and coaches who put me in a position to succeed."
Beckham was chosen the Hornung winner from among five finalists by a 16-member national Selection Committee comprised of sports journalists (including columnist Ron Higgins of NOLA.com and The Times Picayune) and retired NFL players and secured an additional first place vote from online fan voting. "I am excited for Odell to win this outstanding award," LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said." I have never been around a more versatile player, so this award is very fitting."
"I love the way Odell Beckham plays the game," said Hornung, a 1956 Heisman Trophy winner from Notre Dame and and a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. "He can run, catch, block and return kicks and plays with great determination. And he has my admiration for lining up on the scout team during the season (before the Texas A&M game) to help his defense get better. That's how I played the game - doing anything I could to help my team win."
Gil Brandt, longtime NFL scouting guru and Hornung selection committee member, wasn't surprised to see Beckham win the award. "Odell Beckham, Jr. brings the entire package as a versatile football player," Brandt said. "He's is the best college receiver in the country and the best kick and punt returner in the country.
"He's a devastating blocker and has the speed and size to make outstanding plays in tough situations, which he demonstrated on a consistent basis in the big games in the toughest league in the country. He's also a quality individual with a terrific attitude and work ethic."
Odell Beckham, Jr. followed in his father's footsteps in playing for the Tigers - Odell Beckham, Sr. was a running back for LSU from 1989-92, playing in 28 games. The family's athletics bloodlines are strong as Beckham, Jr.'s mother was an All-American track runner for LSU from 1991-93, helping lead the Lady tigers to five national championships.
The athleticism and speed clearly passed down to their son, who was a big-play receiving and rushing threat at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans while also playing cornerback, quarterback and returning punts. A four-star recruit by Scout.com, there was little doubt Beckham would matriculate to Baton Route for his college ball.
Beckham joined Cooper Manning, Archie Manning's son and brother of Eli and Peyton, as the only players in Newman history to break the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a season, after he hauled in 50 passes for 1,010 yards and 19 touchdown receptions as a senior. He showed his dynamic versatility as he rushed for 331 yards and six scores, passed for 90 yards and another touchdown and returned two punts for scores in 2010.
On defense he posted four interceptions that campaign. The year before, Beckham caught 45 passes for 743 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also posted 123 rushing yards and three scores on 14 carries as a junior.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant (West Roster) was also named to the Press-Register Super Southeast 120 and Times Picayune 2011 Blue-Chip lists along with earning a spot on The Advocate's Super Dozen. The Prep Star All American was named to the Louisiana 2A All-State first team as a wide receiver and also earned District 9-2A Offensive MVP honors.
Beckham wasted little time getting established at Louisiana State, as the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman team choice posted 41 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns in 2011, playing in all 14 games including nine starts. He also averaged 8.6 yards as a punt returner and 24.0 yards as a kickoff returner.
The following season, Beckham started 12 games at split end, leading the Tigers with 43 catches and 713 yards, scoring twice. He also returned 35 punts for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns and recorded a pair of 100-yard receiving performances.
Beckham was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick by the league's coaches and named to The NFL Draft Report's All-American Super Sleeper Team, as the FBS' most versatile player shattered the Tigers' season record for all-purpose yardage as a junior, as his 2,315 yards topped Domanick Davis' previous mark of 2,120 set in 2002.
On January 5th, 2014, the LSU football program received a double jolt when both Beckham and Jarvis Landry, their superb pair of starting wide receivers, informed the coaching staff that both were leaving school and had entered the 2014 NFL Draft as part of the record-breaking 102 underclassmen to file.
The duo were the first in LSU history to post 1,000 yard seasons in the same year, becoming only the third pair of SEC wide receivers to accomplish the rare feat in the league's storied history. Landry finished the season with a team-high 77 receptions for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns. Beckham finished with 59 receptions for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns.
Beckham put on an eye-opening performance at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, where he had one of the top times in the 40-yard dash (4.43). His 20-yard shuttle of 3.94 seconds was third-best among all wide receivers in attendance and fourth-best among all players at the 2014 event. Dating back through the last decade of combines, that time ranks fourth-best among the receivers that attended.
Beckham's 60-yard shuttle clocking of 10.93 second was also third-best among the 2014 wide receivers and fourth-best overall in 2014. Among all receivers to attend the combines the last 10 years, that timing is seventh-best among receivers and 11th-best overall.
Beckham started 34-of-40 games that he played in at split end, recording 143 receptions for 2,340 yards (16.36 ypc) and 12 touchdowns…Returned 42 kickoffs for 1,044 yards (24.86 avg) and 62 punts for 557 yards (8.98 avg) with a pair of scores…Added 77 yards on seven carries…Attempted one pass, assisted on a tackle and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.