Max, making a Syracuse fan's day...
Player: Max Beaulieu
Position: Tight End
Year: Junior (Redshirt Sophomore)
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL
High School: University
2011 Stats: N/A
2012 Projections: Beaulieu's is an interesting case. The former high school All County defensive player enrolled at Syracuse early (Winter 2010), only to redshirt as a true freshmen and then see the same amount of field action that you and I did last season. As in, he didn't play a lick.
While it's not crazy to see highly touted recruits sit the bench, what makes this case break from the norm is that coach Doug Marrone moved Beaulieu to tight end prior to the start of last season. Marrone made the move for three reasons. First, with a fair amount of defensive line depth, Beaulieu was likely to sit the bench, a lot. Secondly, Beaulieu is listed at six-foot-three and 240, but he's smaller than those numbers and smaller than most D-Line players. Lastly, the tight end position then, and especially now, is thin. Meaning, Beaulieu would have a better chance at seeing the field.
As for actual projections? I'd say if the former 'jewel' of Marrone's second recruiting class at SU contributes, even in the slightest, it's a win for the team and for Beaulieu. And given that junior Beckett Wales and senior David Stevens are penciled in as starters with only an injured Lou Addazio as the backup, Beaulieu will have a shot at finally seeing the field in a game.
How'd He Get Here: Beaulieu chose Syracuse and Marrone over a lot of other schools, including Connecticut, Louisville, Purdue and Wake Forest. He was seen as the first "Big Get" for Marrone, a defensive anchor who would play right away and possibly be the 'Next Dwight Freeney.'
What did Scout/Rivals Say?: Scout had Beaulieu at No. 82 in the country for the defensive end position. A three star recruit, with speed and toughness:
He is a tough, physical player and consistently wins one on one battles. Beaulieu has the lateral agility to get the job done on the edge.
Money Quote: Last fall Marrone dropped the Switch Positions Bomb on Beaulieu - and the kid handled it with class. Here's Beaulieu telling the Orange Fizz about his initial response to the move.
'I didn't think it was ever going to happen. But Coach Marrone came to me and asked me if I wanted to help the team out. So I was like, 'Sure, I'll do it.'
Links of Wonder: Let's go back to happier times for Beaulieu, back when before his senior season in high school and the time when he committed to Syracuse.
What Does Marrone Think?: Last fall Marrone told the Syracuse Post Standard's Dave Rahme that Beaulieu could work at tight end.
'It will give Max a chance to compete for a position and a role on this team. He was caught a little bit in between at defensive end and the defensive tackle position. We have some guys who are playing well at those positions. Max is a very good athlete. He’s extremely smart, extremely willing and we’ve had him out there and he’s done some nice things and is picking things up well.'
Interesting Nugget O'Interest: NFL draft site nfldraftscout.com actually has Beaulieu listed as a potential draft target for the April 2014 draft. He's listed at no. 999 overall, which, according to my math, means he won't be drafted (Oddly enough, Beaulieu is rated at 999 of 72 tight ends too.) Still, at least Beaulieu is still on someone's radar.