By Daniel Wallace
One of Waco’s finest football stars will be playing for a new team this fall, but he but he will not be leaving the city.
Midway High School senior and Waco native Beau Blackshear has verbally committed to playing football at Baylor beginning in 2011 and will make it official today when he signs his National Letter of Intent.
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Blackshear is hailed as “one of the best defensive ends in the state of Texas,” by his head coach, Terry Gambill.
Although his strength and athleticism draws double and triple-teams in games, what makes Blackshear truly stand out is that “he plays the game of football the way you are supposed to play it; his motor is always running,” Gambill said.
Recruited strongly by TCU, Houston, Rice, and Baylor, Blackshear chose to be a Bear for a number of reasons.
“[Baylor] is close to home where my family and friends can come see me. I also like what [head coach] Art Briles is doing with the program.”
He said he is excited to play under new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, and thinks Bennett will be a good change for Baylor.
Blackshear knows playing in college will be much different than in high school, but feels well prepared and attributes that to Coach Gambill.
“His way of coaching helped me get more into the college level. He was a pretty big part of my senior year,” Blackshear said.
Blackshear has one more chance this season to watch one of the NFL players who inspires him, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“He messed up really badly, but then he realized how blessed he is, that he gets to play in the NFL. He just put his life in perspective, I guess,” Blackshear said.
Roethlisberger sat out the first four games of the 2010 NFL season serving a suspension for a sexual assault complaint filed against him. He takes on the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl Sunday.
Blackshear talked about his favorite aspects of the game, which include, “Being able to hit all the people and not get in trouble for it,” he said, and the feeling “when you walk off the field at the end of a game and you know you played better than the other team.”
In one of his favorites moments of his high school career, Blackshear had just that feeling. That came on Oct. 29 when Midway faced Stephenville, coincidentally where Briles worked from 1988 to 1999.
“We knew they would be the best team we would face all year and we beat them late in the fourth quarter,” Blackshear said.
Midway won, 35-28.
Blackshear hopes to bring feelings and moments like that when he plays for Baylor.
“I just want to make the best impact I can for the team; just knowing I contributed to the team in whatever way they needed would be success,” Blackshear said.
Blackshear will have plenty of guidance and leadership at his position, as the Bears have retained several defensive ends from last season like Zac Scotton, Gary Mason Jr. and Tevin Elliott. Scotton will be a senior next year, Mason Jr. and junior and Elliott a sophomore.
With Blackshear, the Bears will have five Midway graduates on the roster next season.