Jon Beason back on home turf to help high school football players

It was an opportunity Jon Beason never had. And one he's always wanted to provide.

On Sunday, the former Chaminade-Madonna and University of Miami standout finally got his chance.

Beason, a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, teamed up with XL212 to run a combine at Cypress Bay to help promote high school athletes and get them a jump start on recruiting.

"When I was a kid we didn't have these types of outlets, but this is what college and NFL coaches rely on when looking at kids," Beason said. "The best part about this combine is that it's for everybody. Even a kid who isn't a top-tier player can still be noticed and get a scholarship."

The combine was run by certified Nike SPARQ trainers and had athletes competing in drills such as the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, powerball toss and standing broad jump which are used at the NFL combine.

Official results, player bios and videos are packaged together by XL212 and sent to universities around the country, giving players a head-start in the recruiting process. Athletes paid $79 for preregistration and $99 for day-of registraion to participate.

When Beason recently approached his former coach with the idea, Mark Guandolo jumped at the opportunity.

"I'd do anything for Jon," the Cypress Bay coach said. "The great thing about the combine is it just gets the kids used to running these types of drills, putting themselves up against the clock and seeing how well they do."

Beason's super-agent Drew Rosenhaus was even in attendance, possibly on the lookout for potential clients?

"Nah, he's really just here to support me," Beason said. "But he's sharp. He's the kind of guy who would remember some of these kids' names years down the road."

The combine featured tons of underclassmen, including Cypress Bay sophomore Josh Witt (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), a former quarterback who Guandolo is converting into a linebacker.

"For a quarterback he was a very aggressive kid, he loved to hit guys," Guandolo said. "He's got all the intangibles for a linebacker though, as far as pass coverage, hitting ability, quickness and change of direction. He's a good athlete at quarterback, but he's a great athlete at linebacker."

Added Witt: "I was tired of being the one getting hit, I wanted to hit someone else for a change and I thought playing defense would be more fun."

Guandolo says that after spending the next two years learning the position, Witt will become an "upper-tier" outside linebacker.

Another promising prospect from Cypress Bay was junior cornerback Kendall Fullington (5-foot-11, 155 pounds), who's 4.42 time in the agility shuttle drill was the tops of the combine.

Fullington, who also had a strong showing in the powerball toss (30-feet, 9-inches) is currently being looked at by Vanderbilt and Rice.

Click here to order Jon Beason's proCane Rookie Card.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus