You don’t find too many hockey players in South Florida and you certainly don’t find many that also play high school football. Well, there’s a defensive tackle prospect from Ft. Lauderdale High School that does both. His name is Darrell Beard.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I got into it,” Beard said. “I have been playing for about seven years. I tried out and I liked it. I play down here and everyone thinks I play with the grownups. But I don’t.”
Beard, 6-foot-1 and 322-pounds, actually plays right wing. He’s only played football for three years. Last weekend at the Miami NFTC he was one of the better defensive tackle prospects in attendance. Beard was tough to handle in the one on one sessions because he’s so strong and powerful.
“Hockey has helped me as a football player, especially with my footwork and balance. I have good leg power from hockey and my stamina is good. It’s funny because I lose my wind skating but I never do playing football.”
Beard is not a big name when it comes to recruiting. But that could soon change, especially with the May Evaluation period starting in a few short weeks.
“I love to bull rush and have the strength for it,” Beard said. “At the same time I have mindset that I can’t do that all the time and I will run into linemen that will be able to handle it. I have to learn technique. I have to use my hands and I am getting better at it.”
Future NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was helping coach the defensive linemen last week at the Miami NFTC. He gave Beard a few pointers but at the time Beard had no idea who he was.
“To tell you the truth I didn’t know who that was. I just thought he was a coach out there. He was talking to me and giving me tip and I just kept saying ‘thank you coach.’ I didn’t know until I got home when my told me. I didn’t believe her so we pulled it up on our computer. I don’t watch much football but I love to play it.”
Beard doesn’t have any offers at this time but he’s hearing from a few schools.
“I am talking to some coaches,” Beard said. “I am going to visit to Florida but don’t know when yet. That visit will likely be in April or May. I am also hearing from Iowa State, FAU, and FIU.”
One school Beard hopes to hear from is West Virginia. That’s the school his cousin, J.T. Thomas (Bears), played his college football at.
“He played at [Pompano Beach] at Ely and then at West Virginia. So I like the Mountaineers. Now he’s with the Bears.”