That image is shattered when you see Terry Beckner Jr. up close. Make no mistake, when he steps out of his car, there is no doubt that this is a man who is likely bound for the NFL. A towering hulk of a man, Beckner has football player written all over him. But then you might notice, he didn’t step out of a spotless new Escalade. He crawled out from behind the wheel of a beat-up old Chrysler 300 with a bashed up rearview mirror. (Get that fixed before the Liberty Bowl, please!)
You will also notice a complete absence of swagger in this big man on campus. The East St. Louis native is as humble as a pie-eyed freshman. He’s shy around fans, and quietly shops for his essentials at “No Gas” like the rest of the student body.
Beckner comes from humble beginnings and the promise of financial security is a strong motivator. Few have the patience and resolve to delay gratification and to stay true to their goals. Terry Beckner Jr. is not like most men though. He is a man of quiet resolve. His teammates will tell you that he has learned to become a leader and to speak up in the clubhouse when something needs to be said. But few fans see that side of him. He is quiet by nature. He keeps a private Twitter account and rarely tweets. He keeps his responses to media and adoring fans to one or two soft words. The roar of passion is reserved for his inner circle.
There’s something else you don’t see from Beckner. After two devastating knee injuries, you never saw complaints or self-pity. You didn’t see stories in the newspapers of scrapes with the law, so common amongst other young men in the spotlight. All you saw from Beckner was work.
Because of all of this, every one of us Tiger fans should be the biggest Terry Beckner Jr. fans in the world when his name gets called by the NFL. Beckner is in the same class as our superstar quarterback Drew Lock, but Beckner did most of his work under the radar. He deserves a little spotlight. He deserves some love right back. I say, retire #5. He’s a legend.