The Other Beckham: OBJ's Cousin Chasing Improbable Odds of an NFL Career

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystApril 8, 2016

Photo used with permission from Kevin Dunn and KB Multimedia

Terron Beckham wants to make a name for himself. 

As the cousin of superstar New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Terron Beckham lives in the shadow of greatness, but he hopes to blaze a trail all his own. His path isn't tied to his cousin's after already overcoming multiple obstacles on his way to a potential NFL career.  

Terron Beckham hasn't played football for five years, yet NFL scouts from the Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers attended Thursday's pro day at TEST Football Academy in Martinsville, New Jersey, to see this athletic freak, per a league source.

In fact, the Colts already worked out the running back prospect during the week of the NFL combine, according to the same source.

NFL teams are obviously intrigued by this physical specimen. 

With a physique that could make a Greek god envious, Terron Beckham displays all of the natural tools necessary to excel at the professional level.

But his eventual success will be rooted in a path filled with adversity and a happenstance meeting with his trainer, Kevin Dunn. 

Rough Start

Terron Beckham fell through the cracks of the collegiate recruiting process. As a three-sport athlete, the running back didn't concentrate purely on football and remained ignorant to the entire approach. He also transferred from his home in Dallas, where he played for Richardson High School, to Maryland and finished his final season at Fort Meade High School. 

"It hurt my progress as far as being seen by scouts and getting better looks by colleges," he said in a phone interview with Bleacher Report. "But it allowed me to grow more as a player, especially as a running back, because I never served as a full-time running back up until that point.

"I'm happy I got a chance to see what I can do in my first full season. I played almost every down in every game and excelled. Honestly, I wouldn't change anything even though I lost connections with what could have been [in Texas], because it led me to this point."

In his final season, the senior ran for more than 1,300 yards and scored 17 touchdowns, yet he drew little interest from colleges. Those who did express interest had to wait as the three-sport athlete made it through basketball and track seasons. 

Today's recruiting climate is much different. Major colleges usually don't wait and have their classes filled long before the spring semester. Only a few slots are usually left open for the nation's top recruits. With Terron Beckham getting a late start in the recruiting process and then concentrating on other sports before seriously considering his options, the system essentially failed him. 

As such, the three-sport athlete wasn't well-versed in the nuances of recruiting. 

"I remember after my football and basketball seasons being pulled out of classes every week to talk to Division I, II and III schools," he said. "Honestly, I wasn't big into football outside of what I did on the field. I didn't pay attention much to the big schools. I didn't really know the differences between those schools. But I went to the school that was most interested and where I built a connection with the coach."

The Lone Star State transplant eventually decided to attend Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Maryland—a Division III school in the process of starting a football program at the time. 

Within a week's time, the aspiring athlete suffered similar problems many students face: Financial aid became an issue. Division III athletes aren't allotted scholarships. Terron Beckham didn't understand the difference and thought his tuition would be covered as a football player. His situation quickly caught up to him. 

"With Stevenson being an academic school, my financial aid still didn't take care of my schooling," he said. "I moved into a dorm one week, and I was out the next.

"I tried to continue through the program and go to classes. On top of that, I worked to pay for my tuition. Even without living in the dorms, I still had to pay a few thousand dollars. It proved to be a very difficult time in my life, especially since I just started college.

"I eventually gave up football in order to work and pay for my housing. I had been jumping from dorm to dorm or staying at a friend's place." 

An avid gamer, Terron Beckham found the perfect job at a local GameStop. The free game rentals were nice, but he never gave up on his dream. 

Eventually, the Dallas native returned to Texas in an attempt to play football at the junior college level.

His trek continued at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, before he encountered similar problems and couldn't compete because he had to work. 

Finances finally weren't a problem at his third stop—Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas—due to a family friend covering expenses. However, a short-lived football career never materialized. 

"I had a tough time with football there," he said. "They already had their incoming recruits. Everything was already booked. My workouts were great, and I ended up with a tryout to make the team.

"I ran a 40-yard dash. I didn't know the time. I knew it was good enough for the other coaches to come around and watch me run. When running my second 40, I pulled a muscle in my hip. It became a done deal from there.

"Football is a sport, but when you're really hurt, you're useless. I felt it was over for me then."

Family Matters

At one point, his uncle—Odell Beckham Sr.—discussed with his nephew the possibility of attending LSU and walking on to the Tigers program. This never materialized, because the running back didn't have any collegiate film to warrant consideration. 

Due to his last name, it's often assumed Terron and Odell Beckham Jr. are close, but they're not.

"We didn't grow up together even though a lot of people seem to think so," Terron Beckham explained. "When my story first came out, I understood he's my cousin so that became the story, but I actually have a close relationship with his father.

"In time, I'm hopeful our relationship will build and this is a growing point. When the story first came out, I was really worried. I didn't want anyone to think I used his name to get ahead. In reality, I got here because of me. It's not based on my cousin's name. It's based on my hard work."

Odell Beckham Sr.—a former LSU running backcontinues to serve as a mentor. 

"We speak regularly, and he mentors me in how I handle everything, from what I need to work on to social presence to basic football knowledge," the younger Beckham explained. "Basically, he tells me things I need to be aware of throughout this process."

With football out of the equation, the 23-year-old athlete found a home in the world of sports fitness. He took a few jobs as a fitness model but mainly worked as a performance specialist. He's already sponsored by Inner Armour Sports Nutrition. 

A trip to September's Mr. Olympia Fitness and Performance Expo in Las Vegas changed Terron Beckham's life. 

Chance Meeting

Dunn—the owner and CEO of Test Football Academy, who has 20 years of experience in the sports performance industrycouldn't believe his eyes when he saw a spectacular specimen walk up to the vertical-jump station at Mr. Olympia and leaped 44 inches.

"First of all, I couldn't believe it," Dunn admitted. "As a trainer in this industry for so long, it's easy to spot natural ability. This kid has it.

"Once I saw that vertical, I brought him over to our table. I told him, 'I need to hear your story. First, did you play football?' His answer was yes.

"To see an athlete and understand what goes into developing a vertical jump like he posted, I personally have never seen that live. That's what impressed me the most, which prompted me to ask questions about his history."

One simple athletic feat didn't seal the deal. Far more played into the trainer's decision to extend an invitation to train Terron Beckham for the NFL draft. 

"I took everything—his relationship with Odell, his vertical, I asked about his other workout numbers, found out he was a three-sport athlete in high school—and I thought, 'This guy is worth a shot,'" Dunn said. 

"In reality, Terron played football for 10 years, with nine of those coming in Texas. He's not a guy who never played before in his life. He has football experience. The biggest knock on him right now is he doesn't have college experience, but that's only three years of understanding and running plays."

After years of dealing with the red tape that accompanies college football, Dunn provided Terron Beckham with a lifeline, and the young man felt truly grateful for the opportunity. 

"Later that day, I busted out in tears, because I came to the realization this may be my one and only chance to make the NFL," he said. "I felt excited, happy, blessed and overjoyed.

"This is my calling right now. It's all or nothing."

Once at the TEST Football Academy, the legend started to grow.

Dunn immediately knew the two had to work on the aspiring running back's hip and hamstring flexibility to get him back into football shape. Also, Terron Beckham slimmed down slightly from 230 to 225 pounds. He even became a celebrity on Instagram by showcasing some of his workouts. 

Everything culminated Thursday at his official pro day. 

The raw prospect ran an unofficial 4.47-second 40-yard dash and 6.80-second 3-cone drill, according to Giants Wire's Kristian Dyer. He also posted 36 reps with 225 pounds on bench press—he's been known to put up over 40 reps at times. 

But his most impressive feat came in the vertical jump where he eventually registered a 44.5-inch leap, according to Football Gameplan's Emory Hunt. Hunt provided a visual of his first jump, which came up a little shorter at 43 inches: 

Emory Hunt @FBallGameplan

.@TESTSportsNJ athlete Terron Beckham (@OBJ_3 ) cousin just cleared 43 inch vertical #insane https://t.co/4uOrj5xBAT

With those numbers, Terron Beckham would have finished first in both the vertical jump and bench press among all of the prospects at the combine. His 3-cone performance—if accurate—would have been tops among the running backs, and his 40 time tied with those who finished fifth best in Indianapolis. 

"[Former NFL linebacker and current CBS analyst] Bart Scott actually calls him a mutant," Dunn said. "He tells Terron he must have purple blood, because he's a mutant."

End Game

Terron Beckham may view this as his only chance to make the NFL, but he's only partially correct. This will be his primary opportunity to play professional football. Other opportunities exist. 

According to the earlier source, Beckham already has several standing offers to join CFL teams. The NFL might be calling, though, after Thursday's performance. 

"I want to make it on a team even if it's on the practice squad," he said. "To be honest, I want to develop into a franchise player and help a team win a Super Bowl.

"One thing I would like to say to everyone is hard work eventually pays off. You just have to focus on your goals and be selfish a little bit. That's OK. Keep moving forward, and you'll be able to grab on to whatever opportunity comes your way with dear life."

If anything, Terron Beckham already showed he can and will persevere even when the odds are stacked against him. 

All quotes obtained firsthand by Brent Sobleski, who covers the NFL for Bleacher Report, unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @brentsobleski.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.