Kaleb Beasley walks into the weight room at Nashville’s Lipscomb Academy as a freshman knowing already what he needs to improve the most as a young player for the Lipscomb Academy football program that former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer now runs as head coach.
At a tick under 6-foot and about 150 pounds soaking wet, Beasley (like most his age) needs to add pounds to be able to stick with the big boys he guards both outside the numbers and in the slot if he wants to become one of the top cornerbacks across all Tennessee high schools.
Enter Luke Richesson.
The same Richesson who worked as the Denver Broncos strength and conditioning coach before working in the same post for the Houston Texans, where he was praised for helping the growth of many players in the organization before resigning after one season.
Beasley was measly. Richesson got him on the right path.
“He’s definitely put a lot of weight on me with a meal plan,” Beasley told Eleven Warriors this week. “I was 150 coming in freshman year, and now I’m 170 going into sophomore year. So he’s definitely put a lot of muscle and weight on me.”
With a strength coach who has an extensive background working with All-Pros in the highest level of the sport, Beasley puts his full trust in Richesson.
“He gives us all types of stuff to do,” Beasley said. “I don’t even know what we be doing sometimes, I just do it because I know he’s gonna get us right.”
And that’s the main crux of Beasley’s journey as we sit on April 25, 2021.
At 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, the young cornerback has so much room to grow, and he’s on an exciting trajectory to quite possibly become one of the nation’s top defensive recruits in the 2024 recruiting class. He’s centered around the right people in Nashville to get him there, and now it’ll be up to him.
We caught up with Beasley a little less than two weeks after he performed well at the Fortress Obetz-hosted Under Armour All-America Camp, where he showed himself to be one of the event’s top defensive backs.
That was the case when he “found himself” pitted against someone on the other side of him who we just broke down recently – “The next ‘Best Receiver in 2023,’” if you’re to believe Ohio State five-star commit C.J. Hicks.
We put “found himself” in quotes because, well, Beasley went searching for this top receiver. He wanted to see how he stacked up against one of the best offensive players at the showcase. So when asked if there were any one-on-one matchups that day that he was looking forward to more than others, without hesitation he answers.
“Oh, yeah. Anthony Brown,” Beasley said.
And won the battle?
“Oh, I did,” Beasley said. “I knew Anthony was good. I’d heard of him before so I was like, ‘I’ve gotta bring it this time,’ and I stopped him.”
Impressive for the younger corner, especially considering the quickness and route-running ability of Brown, who would go on to win the camp’s Receiver MVP award.
But Beasley – who quite clearly has nothing but respect for Brown’s game – has the capability of playing both on the outside and in the slot, the spot where he guarded Brown, behind some cornerback traits that Ohio State coaches should be happy to see on film.
“I would definitely say my press, my feet when I press are good,” Beasley said. “I’m 6-1 and I’m long, so that gives me a good advantage.”
“And I’m hungry. Anyone I go against I’m ready to kill him, pretty much,” Beasley said.
Ahh, the Art of Cornerback Trash Talk. A tradition unlike any other.
It really is a quality needed at the position and one Beasley says “is natural for me.”
Like Bodie standing his ground on his corner in The Wire, cornerbacks need to stand their ground on their own corner – especially when going up against receivers or tight ends who may be more physically imposing.
Not a problem for Beasley, who has a background (though not quite yet a master’s degree) in the art form.
“It started in AAU basketball,” Beasley said. “I was in AAU in third grade, and from there on I started 7-on-7 in seventh grade. Seven-on-seven was a whole different world, so you’ve gotta know how to just, you know, talk trash.”
So those traits are there, but another reason Beasley’s future is bright is his willingness to embrace he’s nowhere near a complete prospect. He still has a long way to go (and plenty of time to do it), and he already has some areas he needs to refine.
“I think I did good (at the camp). There’s still plenty to work on, but overall I did pretty well,” he said. “Probably working on off-ball defense, not press. I’m already good at press so I need to work on my off-ball, my back pedal and swiveling my hips.”
As he grows in those areas, so too will his recruitment expand. He only has four offers thus far from Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Eastern Kentucky.
Ohio State has not yet been in contact, but the Buckeyes’ coaching staff may in the future as he builds himself up as a cornerback. Beasley will be back in Columbus sometime in June to participate in a one-day camp now that the dead period is over.
Though he’ll only be about two months removed from his camp performance in Obetz, don’t be surprised if he shows up even more polished than he already is. It would just be another example of the trajectory he’s been on for the last two years.