Throughout his high school, Blacksburg native Cole Beck gave opponents nightmares with his track speed that made him a threat to burst through for a long touchdown run or return a kickoff for a touchdown at any moment. Beck's knack for big runs and returns made him a star that every non-student living in Blacksburg wanted to see in a Virginia Tech uniform.
When Beck committed to Virginia Tech, Hokie fans knew that they were getting a player with the type of game-changing speed that gave fans lots of excitement. From his impressive 100 meter times to highlight tapes where no opponent can stay even close to him, Hokie fans had plenty of reasons to be excited about Beck and his speed.
With fall camp nearing its inclusion, Justin Fuente also shares that excitement about Beck's speed especially with the potential of having Beck working on special teams as a kick returner this fall.
“Oh that’s certainly a possibility. He has pretty elite speed but it’s still an adjustment for all of these guys, not just the speed of the game but the volume of responsibility that they have. We’re looking at all of those guys on special teams and on both sides of the ball and we’ll see how it all shakes out but it's certainly something that we’re paying attention to," Fuente said.
Though Beck may not be the most agile runner, the former Blacksburg star has shown the type of top-end speed that can not only make him a constant threat to return a kick for a touchdown, but also the type of guy who can routinely gain more yards simply because of his speed.
The Hokies saw the difference of having one of their 2 or 3 fastest players returning kicks a couple of years ago when Henri Murphy took over kick returning responsibilities late in the season and provided an immediate upgrade.
However, much of Beck's focus is also on the offensive side of the ball at running back where he's doing exactly what RBs coach Zohn Burden is expecting while also showing off some physicality that Beck never had to show in high school.
"Well (Cole) Beck is doing exactly what we thought he would do. Beck is showing a lot of speed out
there. That’s the first thing you notice when the ball is in his hands. He has also shown an ability
to be physical which he didn’t have to be as much in high school. We are excited about him and
the future is bright,” Burden said.
Beyond special teams, Cole Beck has shown that he has the type of speed that will force Justin Fuente and his staff to find ways to use him both on special teams and offense. The fact that Beck is showing that he can run with a physical style is a sign that he might be able to develop into a more traditional RB instead of a speed back/slot receiver/offensive weapon.
In the immediate future, the former Blacksburg star is the type of guy that can be a big play threat if you can find ways to get him space. Given Beck's skill set, don't be surprised to see the Hokies try to use him on jet sweeps, some runs out of the shotgun, or even some RB screens if he can improve his hands.
As his first fall camp near its conclusion, Cole Beck has given Justin Fuente and the Hokies plenty of reason for excitement about his "elite speed."
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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