He wasn’t as committed to football then as he is now, but after committing to South Alabama on Saturday he said he couldn’t help but reflect on that trip six years ago.
“It’s crazy how now I’ll be a part of the team, playing at the home of the senior bowl,” he told the Sun Herald on Monday, excited by the fact that the annual senior showcase will be in his new city.
The sophomore defensive lineman visited USA over the weekend and came away impressed. Beaton didn’t waste any time committing, pledging to the Jaguars on Saturday night.
“I went on multiple visits and for it to be so close to home and D1, it was the perfect place for me,” he said. “I felt for me to develop as a football player these next two years, it will be a great place for me.”
Beaton was intrigued by Steve Campbell taking over the Jaguars’ program, which was one big reason he committed to USA over offers from Murray State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Ohio and Northwestern State.
“It’s real exciting. One reason I went to Jones was because at the time they were getting a new staff,” he said. “It was a big part of my decision, to be a part of something new and to help them grow.”
He said Joey Jones’ staff never showed any interest in recruiting him, but Campbell’s didn’t take long to call. Having studied Campbell’s previous successes at Central Arkansas and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, among other stops, Beaton said he was honored to receive an offer.
“That says a lot about him that he knows how to win and he wants me,” Beaton said. “I know he wants to win at South Alabama so for him to recruit me it says he believes in me.”
Beaton originally committed to Southern Miss out of high school but failed to qualify, opting instead to sign with JCJC. He said despite being a previous commitment, Jay Hopson’s staff never showed interest in the 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive tackle.
“I believe they kind of just moved on,” Beaton said.
As for USA, Beaton expects to step in and compete right away for playing time.
This season, Beaton registered 28 tackles with five sacks and seven tackles for loss. He also forced one fumble. The year before he made 18 tackles with five sacks.
It’s worth pointing out that not only is USA getting a great football player who’s disruptive in the middle of the line, the Jags are also getting an extremely strong individual. As a senior at HCHS, Beaton set several state powerlifting records. In the Class 6A meet, Beaton eclipsed his own Mississippi record when squatted 820 pounds.
According to 247Sports.com, Beaton is one of 10 verbal commitments in the 2018 signing class. He’s the third JCJC player to commit, joining cornerback Travis Reed and receiver Kendall Parham.
Beaton graduated from JCJC on Dec. 15, will sign with the Jaguars on Wednesday and then report to USA on Jan. 8.