It’s been just a few days since Blackman junior Drew Beam committed to Tennessee baseball.
With that decision made and a spring and summer full of baseball completed, Beam now has just one thing on his mind — football.
After gaining valuable experience and some growing pains as a sophomore starting quarterback for the Blaze in 2018, a lot will be expected from Beam this season.
“The expectations I have for Drew are through the roof,” said Blackman coach Kit Hartsfield. “It’s no higher than he has for himself. He’s bigger, stronger and has grown. He’s developed both mentally and physically.
“The game’s already slowed down for him. Most quarterbacks don’t get that kind of experience as sophomores. We’re expecting him to play like a senior during his junior season.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Beam completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 1,509 yards and 16 touchdowns with just six interceptions.
But Beam knows that there were times when he played like a first-year starter in some big games.
“I could have had better games, especially the Oakland (24-14 loss in Week 6) and Mt. Juliet (35-14 loss in second round of 6A playoffs) games,” said Beam, who said he would have given himself a “B” as a grade for last year. “There were other games where I threw the ball really well.”
Beam was thrust into the lineup as a sophomore, but the situation was a pretty good one, having three of the state’s top receivers (Arkansas signee Trey Knox, USC signee Adonis Otey and Charlotte signee Micaleous Elder), along with veteran starting running back Tamicus Napier.
However, there were many instances where either Knox or Otey were placed at quarterback in a Wildcat formation. Hartsfield said 2019 should be different, with Beam being the primary guy behind center.
“That was more about utilizing the players we had,” Hartsfield said. “This year I don’t really see us being a better team with Drew on the sidelines. I wouldn’t expect to see nearly as much of that. It makes us too one-dimensional.”
On the baseball diamond, Beam was named the 7-AAA Pitcher of the Year and first-team all-area performer. He went 8-1 with a 0.37 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 50⅔ innings as a sophomore. Opponents batted .117 against him as he led the Blaze to a District 7-AAA regular-season title.