Over the last several years Kansas State has produced plenty of NFL players and today we look at one of their offensive lineman in left guard Abdul Beecham. Beecham has a lot going for him as he stands 6’3 310lbs with good movement skills. Whether it’s pulling in the run game or being graded by Pro Football Focus as the best pass blocking guard in 2017. I had the chance to interview Abdul and here is what he had to say.
Abdul Beecham Interview
1. What was it about football that drew you to the game?
I was always very big for my age and I always had to be careful playing with other kids. Football allowed me to be physical and test my limits. I also loved the competition and the games and my Father Loves College Football (He is from Alabama). Football was also a great teacher in that is teaches you teamwork, discipline, strategy and it challenges you mentally and physically.
2. You played 6A high school football in Texas, we all see movies about how crazy and passionate high school football is in Texas, what was that experience like for you?
There is NOTHING like Texas High School Football. My High School Converse Judson has won 6 State Titles and played in 11. The traditions and fan loyalty is second to none. I routinely played in front of sold out crowds of 10 thousand. The entire city would be at the games on Friday nights. For playoffs and Championships we played in front of 15-20K fans with some Title games having 40-50K fans. I enjoyed every second of my High School Football it was the most fun and most unforgettable time in my life. I played with and against some great players many of whom are Power 5 D1’s and a few who made it to the NFL.
3. Out of high school you went to Blinn Community College, a school that has produced a handful of NFL players, what lead you to Blinn and how did that experience prepare you?
I had my choices of Texas JUCO’s when I came out of High School, I chose Blinn because of the tradition , the proven record of players moving on to P5 D1’s and the way they prepared their players for University life. It was also super competitive and the staff pushed the players. I was rated as the #9 Offensive Guard in the Nation when I came out of Blinn. I received my first D1 offer from Iowa State after my second game at Blinn. Blinn has dorms , study hall, academic advisors, curfew, they run Blinn just like a major University, this really helped my transition to Kansas State I was ready.
4. Out of Blinn you signed with Kansas State, what drew you to playing for the Wildcats?
I went on my Official visit and I was blown away by the facilities, the loyalty of the fans (sold out home games every year), the coaching staff especially Coach Dickey and the concept of family that is Kansas State. I was also intrigued by the possibility of starting right away due to the high turnover of Offensive Linemen on the depth chart. Coach Dickey was also a main reason I chose Kansas State. He is in my opinion one of the best OL Coaches in College football. He believed in me and told me how he could help me become a better player and person.
5. Bill Synder doesn’t get the same attention that a Nick Saban or Urban Meyer get but is considered to be one of the best college football coaches in NCAA history. What makes him so special?
Coach Snyder is the toughest , most focused man I have ever met along with my Dad. He consistently gets the most out of his players and his staff. He is an inspiration and is beloved in Kansas and beyond because he himself has overcome so many obstacles (health issues, recruiting against blue bloods like Oklahoma and Texas, consistently winning with less etc) yet he sets the example for all of us by his dedication, focus and belief that hard work ,discipline, execution and mental toughness can overcome a lack of superior talent. Coach Snyder also has longevity. He has seen so much and he is innovative. He took Kansas State once the worst program in College Football and made us respectable and a threat each and every year. He also takes as much pride in molding players into respectable young men as he does in winning football games. In my Opinion he is in the upper echelon of Coaches in CFB along with the Coach Saban’s and Meyers. I wouldn’t want to have any other Coach to guide, mentor and teach me to be a better football player and a help me become a man.
6. You are known for you ability in pass protection as you didn’t allow a single sack at Blinn and were graded out by Pro Football Focus as the best pass blocking guard in 2017, what traits do you have that make you so efficient and successful?
I pride myself in my pass blocking ability. In Pass Protection you have to have quick reflexes, instinct, anticipation and great hands but more importantly you have to have great footwork. I was blessed to have those traits. I am a pretty good basketball player I love to play. Guys see me on the court and think I can’t move and they are surprised when I am guarding the point guard and stripping the ball from him. I can also jump. Even though I am only 6’3″ and 315lbs I can dunk a basketball. I also have very long arms (35inch arm length) my wingspan is that of someone 6’9″. I think that all of this translates to football. Instincts , anticipation, Quick feet, strong fast hands and long arms are a recipe for success in pass blocking.
7. With so many college teams running uptempo spread offenses, Kansas State tends to run a more traditional offense, how does that help you as you transition to the NFL?
As you know many players struggle when they get to the NFL because although spread concepts are used they are not the mainstay as in College Football. In some spread offenses you can get away with poor technique, lack of execution, missed assignments etc because the ball is released so fast and the tempo doesn’t allow the defense to set properly a lot of times. At Kansas state we use most of the play clock before running a play and we are run dominate. Your mistakes and missed assignments are magnified in our offense. This causes everyone to perfect technique, execute assignments, and to be become more complete players. Kansas State I believe will prepare me better for the NFL than other schools who run Spread offenses because the NFL is more traditional in its offensive approach. There is a reason Kansas State’s Offensive Line is predicted to be the best in the Big 12 again this season, we are all versatile, we have great technique, physicality and footwork and we want to outwork, out execute and wear down our opponents relentlessly.
8. On tape you show the ability to quickly get out and pull in the run game, how do you use your athletic ability as a run blocker?
I pride myself in my footwork, technique , ability to take the correct angles, my short area quickness and my power on contact, I use all of that to execute my assignments when pulling and run blocking. Many times players are surprised a 315Lb guard got up on them so fast. I pride myself in taking my man completely out of the play so my teammate with the ball can score or get the most yards possible. I think my ability to pull and block in space as well as battle head up on the line of scrimmage is what separates me from many other interior linemen in CFB.
9. Versatility and position flexibility is always key to an offensive lineman. You’ve played left tackle, right tackle and even right guard in your past before settling in at left guard. What was different about left guard compared to right guard?
The biggest difference is in two areas. The first is knowing where to block based on the play call. Play side vs Back side. When you play majority on one side you process your assignment very quickly, when you switch sides it takes a little longer to process the assignment. The second area is in Pass Blocking. Players who play majority one side kick step the same leg over and over, switching sides can be a challenge as you are kick stepping with a non dominate leg. Coach Dickey likes versatile Linemen and we move around a lot in practice. I am fully prepared for a switch to another position if asked and I practice techniques needed to be successful at either side.
10. I’ve heard that lineman moving from one side to the other is like trying to write with your non dominant hand, how true is that? Do you feel that if you had to play right guard again, your better prepared for it?
There is some truth to switching sides being a challenge and difficult but in today’s football world versatility is an asset and Kansas State prepares its OL to be versatile. I feel if asked by Coach Dickey or if I am fortunate enough to be selected by an NFL team I will be able to make the transition. As I stated Coach Dickey likes versatility and we move around a lot in practice.
11. What can we expect from the Kansas State Wildcats during the 2018 College Football season?
I think we will surprise a lot of people this season. We expect to contend for the Big 12 Title. We did lose a lot especially on defense but we have a lot of hungry upcoming players ready to make their mark. We return all 5 offensive lineman and we were rated as the best OL in the Big 12 by Pro Football Focus. (All American Dalton Risner, Remington nominee Adam Holtorf, All Conference Left Tackle Scott Frantz. All Conference Right Guard Tyler Mitchell, and of course myself All Conference Left Guard ). I believe we will have a devastating run game with our feature back Alex Barnes and a stable of versatile RBs (Mike McCoy, Justin Silmon , Dalvin Warmack) We have a two headed monster at QB with Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson who each brings something unique to the table. We have a great returning secondary and some athletic LB’s and DL’s ready to make step up. We have new coordinators on offense and defense and we have the best special teams Coach in the country in Coach Sean Snyder. Finally we have the best Coach in the Big 12 in Coach Bill Snyder and he will have us ready to play and compete every single game. I think our spring and summer workouts and conditioning has prepared us to have the best season in a long time at Kansas State
12. What type of player and person will an NFL team be getting from you?
I have dreamed of playing in the NFL since I was 7 years old. I have played organized tackle football since that age. The team that believes in me will be getting a versatile player who can excel at multiple positions, an athletic player who can block in space, pull and get to the second level, a player with the footwork and hands and counters to effectively pass block and protect the QB, a player who can transition to power move players off the line of scrimmage and excel in the run game, A player who grew up in a military family and who understands discipline, teamwork, sacrifice, hard work, A player who has never been in any type of trouble. A smart player who prides himself in being a student of the game. A player who is never satisfied and want to always improve and get better. And finally a player that will always give 100% on every play and who will always carry himself as a representative of his team and never embarrass them or put them in an awkward situation.