SHELBYVILLE — A shoulder injury that cost Shelbyville's Kentrell Beck his entire junior season didn't cost him the chance to play Division I football.
Beck verbally committed to Western Michigan University on Friday afternoon to play in the Mid-American Conference. He was a star wide receiver as a freshman and sophomore to help lead Shelbyville to back-to-back Class 2A state semifinals before a shoulder injury cost him his entire junior season. He returned as a senior to play quarterback.
“It’s crazy," Beck said by phone. "I thank everyone for helping me bounce back from this injury and all the coaches who have taken the time to recruit me. It’s just awesome.
"My junior season, that’s a big part of the recruitment base. Your junior film is what they go off of. Not being able to have that slowed a lot of coaches down in my process, but it still gave other coaches an opportunity to take a shot."
Beck, who is 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, said he will play running back for the Broncos next season. He hasn't played running back since JFL, but was electric on his feet from the quarterback position this season. He said that the Western Michigan coaches liked his vision as a ball carrier, and the contact with the coaching staff dated back to last season, but picked up again this year.
“He’s got the athletic skill set to do just about anything football wise," Shelbyville coach Bill Duckett said. "We could have out him on the offensive line and he would have been a pretty darn good offensive lineman for us."
For his career, Beck has 107 catches for 2,119 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns; 1,225 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns and 1,516 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns. Other schools that recruited Beck also expressed interest in him playing running back for them.
He's just fine with a return to the position.
“I’ve always liked playing that position where I can show off my ball skills," he said.
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Beck visited campus on Oct. 26 in Western Michigan's win over Bowling Green, and announced he had received a scholarship offer the next day. He liked the dynamic of the team and the feeling of being on the field pre-game. He said he knew earlier this week that Western Michigan was his preference, and made it official on social media on Friday afternoon.
“I knew I liked that place a lot," Beck said. "I knew it’s my home. I knew it’s where I wanted to go and I wanted to make it as soon as possible."
The Broncos are 7-4 this season, and are coached by head coach Tim Lester, who is in his third season at Western Michigan after taking over for P.J. Fleck, who is now coaching at Minnesota.
“It’s exciting to get a kid at that level to be able to get a DI offer," Duckett said. "I kind of expected it could have came earlier, but he had to prove he could get through a year uninjured and he came back from that injury and played great for us."