Written by Ryan Wright
An aspect that often gets overlooked for quarterbacks coming out of the high school ranks – are they winners? Can a quarterback elevate the play of those around him putting points on the board and wins in the column? For Class of 2020 field general Josh Beetham, that is a resounding yes.
Beetham broke through to the Illinois varsity ranks as a freshman with Aurora Christian tossing the pigskin around for 2,000 yards with 26 touchdowns. After transferring to Yorkville High School, taking over the reigns fully in 2018, life on the gridiron changed dramatically for the Foxes. Yorkville posted a 2-7 season in 2017, but posted back-to-back 8-3 runs over the next two campaigns with Beetham guiding the way. As a junior, the 6-5, 220-pound, QB filled the stat sheet with 1,890 passing yards and 15 touchdowns running the rock in three more times for scores. His senior season was much the same passing for around 1,700 yards with 17 touchdowns with 200 yards on the ground and six more scores going up on the board.
Division-II and NAIA schools are well-aware of Beetham’s talents, and regional D-I programs are starting to catch on right before National Signing Day. For a report on his senior season and recruiting process, I sat down with Beetham partnered with QB Hit List for insight on the three-star recruit.
Josh, the Foxes put up back-to-back 8-3 seasons under your guidance at quarterback after a 2-7 season in 2017. The offensive production was a big part of putting the wins on the board. As a leader, how did you bring the guys on the team together to change around the fortunes of the team over the past two seasons?
“As a team, we had some unsuccessful seasons leading up to the past two seasons. We have worked together from youth football on; it has been all about trusting each other. We knew what we could do, we had to show others what we could do. I take pride being a key leader on the team.”
When did you get that call up to start at the varsity level?
“My freshman year, I played varsity after an injury. That was my first varsity season. Varsity has a different speed and better athletes, but I was comfortable with it. My sophomore year ended earlier than expected (non-throwing arm), but during my junior year I was confident leading my team off that freshman experience.”
At what point in your career did everything start to slow down and you felt in control, or at least felt like you knew what was going on within the game?
“Probably starting my junior year, about two games in. After my freshman experience, that really helped. I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. I have always been confident in chaos. My ability to overcome things like that has always been there.”
What offense were you executing in 2019?
“It was pretty much 50-50, run-pass. We had a balanced offense. We ran a lot of RPOs (run-pass option) and ran a West Coast passing attack and then we’d take the top off with some deep balls.”
How does that set fit your skills?
“It fits well. I have the ability to make all the throws. With the RPO, that allowed me freedom to hand it off, run it or pass it.”
Which areas of your game showed the biggest improvement during your senior season?
“My ability to move in the pocket. My junior year I was worried about injury, so I did not move as much. I ran more my senior year and I moved around more. I studied a lot of tape in the offseason and during the season. I knew where I was going pre-snap, so it was about getting it out on time, quickly, and with accuracy.”
Which game during your senior year was your top game?
“The Oswego game was my best. They were a Top 10 8A school, we are a 7A school. We put it together as a team against them. We lost at the end of the game, but it was a one score game (28-20). That was a performance I really liked.”
What did you do well against Oswego to make that your top game?
“I showcased my ability to move. I created throwing lanes with my movement, kept the chains moving and kept us in the game.”
What do you feel separates you from other quarterbacks in your class?
“The intangibles. I may not have an arm throwing it 80-yards downfield, but I can throw all the routes. My leadership is another thing that separates me. I have always been a winner. We won a state championship in 8th grade; I have never had a losing season in my life. I am a winner and I stay cool and calm in every situation. I feel my leadership helps propel my teams towards winning.”
After the senior season turned in, which schools are showing recruiting interest?
“Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana are showing interest as a potential preferred walk-on. Ball State, Texas State, North Carolina-Charlotte, and Northern Illinois are also showing interest. Some D-II schools have told me if I go to campus, I will get an offer. With me playing basketball this season, it has been hard getting to those schools for the offer.”
How many offers do you have?
“I have six offers from D-II and NAIA programs.”
Have you taken any official and/or unofficial visits from the start of the 2019 season to now?
“I have taken unofficial visits to Wisconsin, Minnesota, NIU, and Ball State.”
Are there any planned visits ahead?
“I am planning on visiting Illinois soon. With my basketball schedule, I will have to fit it in.”
Going into the classroom, what is your cumulative GPA?
What did you score on the SAT?
Back to football. Is there some part of your game you feel gets overlooked?
“My ability to move. It was not showcased as much during my junior year, some coaches may have passed on me because of that. I am more athletic than what is showed on film. I can move the chains for teams.”
Do you have a message for college coaches that may be reading this, something you would like for them to know about you personally and/or you as a quarterback?
“I am the hardest worker they will have in the room. I will do anything for a win and do anything for the team. I do whatever it takes to win.”
Going back to basketball, how is the season going?
“The season has been good so far. I am averaging about 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. It has been a couple of years since I have played basketball. It has been fun for me.”
Josh, I appreciate your time today and wish you the best on the recruiting trail and with the rest of your basketball season.
Photo credit: Beetham family; Josh Beetham at NIU and Wisconsin