FanPost

Travis Beckum (TE) Height: 6'3" Weight: 243


He would be perfect because he can catch and he would add a third options to our passing game

It seems as though Beckum has been proving doubters wrong ever since he signed on with the Badgers. When he first arrived on campus, the coaching staff doubted he would be anything more than a warm body sitting on the bench. After all, how many 215-pound defensive ends have ever played in the National Football League? He forced his way on to the field as a special teams kamikaze during his freshman year and was asked to switch to offense the following season.


Playing tight end in the Big Ten Conference at 220 pounds won't have too many opposing defensive coordinators losing sleep. Despite being rated the best prep linebacker in the state of Wisconsin and having no high school experience at the position, he went on to shatter school single-season records for tight ends and capture All-American honors as a sophomore after snatching 61 passes.


Beckum was named to the Lombardi Trophy Watch List in 2007. That award is usually reserved for down linemen, showing just how far he had emerged in the eyes of those that follow college football closely. He further established his presence on the football field during his junior year, breaking his own school record while finishing tied for first on the Badgers' annual record chart with 75 catches.


Even though he was the state of Wisconsin's blue chip prospect during his days at Oak Creek High School, Beckum always played with a solid blue collar work ethic. He was rated the state's best player and the nation's sixth-best linebacker by Rivals.com and ranked among the prep ranks' top five athletes according to Prep Football Report. He added Super Prep and Parade All-American honors and was named the state's unanimous Player of the Year as a senior.


Beckum ranked seventh on the Detroit Free Press' "Best of the Midwest" list and was selected to play in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The two-time All-State selection recorded 108 tackles, including 38 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 16 sacks as a senior. He also had seven interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and four blocked kicks in 2004. In addition to earning four letters in football, he earned three more with the Oak Creek basketball team.


As a freshman, Beckum was relegated to special teams duties at Wisconsin. He was listed on the depth chart as a rush defensive end and outside linebacker, but managed just two tackles, including one for a loss in 10 contests. In spring drills after the season, he was shifted to the offensive side of the ball. The move was an immediate success.


Beckum led UW's receivers in catches and receiving yards throughout 2006 spring camp. "He has shown the ability since we moved him that he is very athletic and can catch the football," said UW coach Bret Bielema, who moved Beckum to tight end after the Capital One Bowl. "I like what he did after the catch, but Travis is just beginning to scratch the surface on how good he can be. He understands where we want him to be in the passing game because he likes the passing game. What we need him to do is be a complete football player."


Beckum went on to earn All-American second-team honors as a sophomore. The Mackey Award semifinalist (nation's top tight end) set the school single-season record for tight ends, as he hauled in 61 passes for 903 yards (14.8 avg) and five touchdowns. Both his receptions and receiving yards ranked second among the nation's tight ends. He also gained 19 yards on four carries.


In 2007, Beckum shattered his own Badgers tight end record, snaring 75 passes for 982 yards (13.1 avg) and six touchdowns. His average of 5.77 receptions per game ranked second among the nation's tight ends and his receiving yards led the NCAA players at his position. Back on special teams, he also posted four tackles (three solos).


After his junior campaign, Beckum seriously considered applying for the 2008 NFL Draft, but decided to return to school. "Playing at Wisconsin in front of the greatest fans in college football is something I want to continue doing for one more year," he said in a statement issued by the school. "I looked into my options and found the best one is right here with this university. I'm enjoying being a Badger and can't wait for our bowl game in Tampa, as well as for next season. I'm glad this decision is behind me and I'm looking forward to another year at Camp Randall."


That decision soon proved to be costly. What was supposed to be a breakout senior season turned into a medical nightmare for Beckum. He arrived in fall camp and quickly suffered a right hamstring strain. The injury would keep him out of the team's first two games and you could see that he rushed back into action upon his return. He missed three quarters of the Michigan game after he reinjured his hamstring. Against Illinois, he suffered a left fibula fracture, undergoing surgery and was lost for the season, finishing with 23 receptions for 264 yards (11.5 avg).


High School

Attended Oak Creek (Milwaukee, Wisc.) High School...Rated the state's best player and the nation's sixth-best linebacker by Rivals.com...Ranked among the prep ranks' top five athletes according to Prep Football Report...Added Super Prep and Parade All-American honors and was named the state's unanimous Player of the Year as a senior...Ranked seventh on the Detroit Free Press' "Best of the Midwest" list and was selected to play in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl...The two-time All-State selection recorded 108 tackles, including 38 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 16 sacks as a senior...Also had seven interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and four blocked kicks in 2004...In addition to earning four letters in football, he earned three more with the Oak Creek basketball team.

Analysis

Positives: Rangy athlete with the top-end speed to challenge down the seam. Uses this threat and his long arms to gain separation from defenders. Lines up as an H-back with his hand down, in the slot and outside. Good lateral quickness. Shimmies to sell his route or get off press coverage at the line. Improved recognition of defenses and can recognize the soft spots in the zone. Nice body control as a receiver, flashing the ability to track over his shoulder. Able to make the acrobatic high-point catch. Secures the ball quickly and looks to head upfield. Flashes some wiggle to make defenders miss. Impressive straight-line speed. Provides an initial pop and willingness to sustain as a pass and run blocker.


Negatives: Underwent shoulder surgery after his junior season, and was still not 100 percent recovered from his leg surgery by Wisconsin's March 4 pro day. 'Tweener who is undersized for the traditional tight end position. Has struggled to gain weight in the past and is a narrow shouldered athlete who lacks the frame to add much bulk. Ultimately gets backed down or ripped off by larger players when blocking on the line due to his less than ideal playing strength. Does not have the straight-line speed and explosive burst out of his breaks to convert to receiver. Lacks the raw power to break tackles. Rounds off routes. Will short-arm passes when hearing footsteps. Body-catches too often.


Compares To: RANDY McMICHAEL, St. Louis -- Beckum is not as bulky as McMichael, but both are superb at securing the ball and heading upfield. The Wisconsin native might be a nice fit for the Packers, who have been lacking a safety valve in their lineup since Keith Jackson's heyday. Size issues will prevent Beckum from playing the traditional tight end position and there are serious durability concerns. If he was not so banged up last year, he could have been the king of the mountain at this position heading into the draft.


Injury Report

2007: Limited late in fall camp (8/22) with neck and back spasms.


2008: Missed the team's first two games of the season vs. Akron (8/30) and Marshall (9/06) due to a right hamstring strain that he suffered at the start of fall camp (8/02)...Sat out more than three quarters of the Michigan game (9/27) after re-injuring his hamstring...Suffered a left fibula fracture vs. Illinois (10/25), undergoing surgery that evening and was forced to sit out the rest of the season.


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