It's tough to be a diamond in the rough in recruiting with the media coverage and scouting services. Yet it is possible.
Tevin Beanum might be just that jewel. The defensive end from Forrest City (Ark.) High School, who committed to Arkansas last week, grew up playing soccer. Beanum didn't move to the United States from Germany until he was 10 years old. That's when his father moved him from soccer to American football.
Soccer helped Beanum's footwork. So did trying to be a wide receiver. Despite weighing more than 240 pounds, Beanum was always working with running back and receivers in hopes of catching passes one day.
“I worked ... to get my footwork a lot more than the average lineman,” the 6-foot-4 defensive end said.
Then reality set in when a coach told him he could lose 30 pounds and perhaps make it at wide receiver or stay at his current weight and be an athletic defensive end. Beanum made the decision to focus on defensive end, a decision that had a certain advantage.
“I feel like the footwork is a plus as far as outmaneuvering the offensive linemen,” Beanum said.
Nearby Arkansas was more aware of Beanum than any other school so it was the first BCS school to offer him a scholarship. Sure, that was smart, but it doesn't make the hold on Beanum unbreakable.
Chances are other schools will come calling once they see a prospect with size and athleticism. With the tenuous position of Razorbacks interim coach John L. Smith, it's hard not to wonder it a school could pull him away from the in-state school that's faced so much turmoil this year.
“I probably would be respectable to other schools and would take a visit if it was advised by people I respect in my recruiting,” Beanum said. “My commitment to Arkansas, I stand by it. The situation with Coach Smith, I believe in Coach Smith.
“From being up there, I can see the players are buying into what he preaches. They trust him. ... If it should pass that he's not there when I get there, I feel like the school will provide a coach just as good as him. My commitment won't change on the coaching situation.”
But could it change based on other factors. College recruiters know how to woo in many ways. If so, that other school will have to win Beanum's heart, which is currently Razorback red.
“As I grew up watching them play, I was pretending I was one of them,” Beanum said. “Then as I grew up I tried to take after the players one way or another. When I had the opportunity to play for that team, after being a fan of that team growing up, its just seemed like a natural choice.”
Beanum might end up a Razorback but if he's as talented as Arkansas' coaches think he is, they'll face a battle for him before national signing day in February.