CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – In some ways, Shaun Beyer is a victim of the times. Players who develop late in high school often find limited options with the recruiting clock sped up to a feverous pace.
Beyer, a senior tight end/linebacker at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, watched as athletes around the state, region and country grabbed high major college scholarship offers. They showed more potential for the next level in their first three years as preps.
Beyer worked hard on his strength and skill set after his junior year and has put together a superior senior season. A decade ago, he might have already secured an offer from his local school, Iowa, who used to thrive on evaluating 12th-grade film.
Like many schools in the country, the Hawkeyes have run the race faster than ever before. They secured 23 known verbals before their season started, likely leaving only two openings in the 2016 Class.
Fortunately for Beyer and the Hawkeyes, the door has remained open for him. He’s visited Kinnick Stadium for just about every home game this season and assistant Reese Morgan attended his final regular-season game last week.
“They definitely have interest in me and they say they have a plan for me so we’ll see how it goes,” the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Beyer said.
Beyer helped unbeaten and third-ranked Kennedy (10-0) reach the second-round of the Class 4A state playoffs Wednesday night here at Kingston Stadium with a 59-0 blowout of Clinton. The senior captain caught five passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard sprint to the end zone off of a drag route.
The Cougar coaches line up Beyer at tight end, quarterback and running back on offense. He covers ground as an outside linebacker defensively.
For the season, Beyer has caught 31 passes for 587 yards and eight touchdowns, rushed 27 times for 451 yards and four scores, and completed three of four passes for 36 yards. On defense, he has 43 tackles (36 solo, 10 for loss) and 5.5 sacks.
“We made school history. I’ve been playing great. The team has been playing great. It’s just been an all-around great feeling,” Beyer said.
Beyer said most of his focus has centered on his senior season but recruiting has resided in the back of his mind. In helping his team succeed with his solid play, he’s boosted his stock as a prospect. Iowa has noticed.
“Coach Morgan says to keep trusting him because he has a plan for me. I don’t know what that means or what it is but I’m just kind of going with the flow,” Beyer said.
What it meant last season for West Des Moines Dowling Linebacker Nick Wilson, who heard the same thing from Morgan, was a late scholarship offer. Previously committed to Western Illinois, the 6-foot-2, 206-pounder flipped to the Hawkeyes when they put forth the opportunity the Friday before signing day in February.
Beyer sits in a similar situation as Wilson. He’s pledged to North Dakota State University, the four-time defending FCS champs. He’s keeping open line of communication with the Bison staff.
“I love NDSU. I think that’s my best offer right now. That’s why I committed. The coaches up there said that if Iowa offers they understand. They’d want me to go there and they understand. If that ends up how it is, that’d be great. But if not, NDSU is not far to fall back on. They’re a great, awesome team,” Beyer said.
Beyer said most college coaches see him at the tight end/H-Back position at the next level. Nebraska has picked up interest in him and see him as a hybrid linebacker/safety, he said.
“I’m visiting (the Huskers) Nov. 20 or something, whenever our season is over,” Beyer said.
Beyer said he’s mostly hearing from Iowa, Nebraska and Northern Illinois right now.