September 8, 2017 10:24:47 AM
SCOOBA -- Whether East Mississippi Community College quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. saw Derrick Beckom coming for him or felt him, there is no denying Beckom affected him.
On the first play of EMCC's second offensive possession Thursday night, Beckom moved from safety into the box. As he did, he locked up with a running back who held him as Scott Jr. escaped. The 10-yard holding call came immediately.
This is the new version of Beckom, the Columbus High School product now starting at safety in his first year with the Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. football team. Beckom's return to the area wasn't a pleasant one, as his Bulldogs lost 49-10, but it was the continuation of what has been a promising start for Beckom. He has a team-high 19 tackles and a pass breakup for the Bulldogs (1-1).
Beckom was a big part of a 42-41 victory against Itawamba C.C. last week. Even though he was the only Bulldog to tally double-digit tackles, he didn't give himself glowing reviews.
"It was pretty good for a first college football game," Beckom said. "I need more pass breakups. I had too many passes caught on me (against EMCC)."
MGCCC coach Chad Huff has a different view.
"Derrick's been a big-time contributor," Huff said. "We're looking for great things out of him as the season goes along."
Plays like the one that drew the holding call aren't uncommon for Beckom. He said he has gained 12 pounds of muscle and hasn't lost any of his speed since joining the Bulldogs.
Beckom said the stretching program available at MGCCC has made him "more agile, all of that stuff" and helped him get stronger. Beckom thinks he is a better tackle at his new weight and is as dangerous as he has been on a football field.
Huff can see the results.
"It's made him a more physical defensive back, and he's adapted well with it," he said.
Those results have thrust Beckom into a position of importance in the defense.
"(MGCCC defensive coordinator Steve) Davis does a lot of those things, those hybrid linebacker / defensive back types that can come up in the box and play coverage," Huff said. "(Beckom) is athletic enough to do that. He's a sound, very fundamentally sound player. Good ball skills, tackler, works hard in the weight room, and what I like about him is he's very coachable. He comes to work every day."
Even though his responsibilities in the box remain, Beckom is dedicated to improving his pass coverage. He said he will emphasize and practice harder to realize that goal.
Beckom already is a key member of the Bulldogs' special teams unit. He likes that responsibility for one reason.
"You got to have heart," Beckom said. "You have to have it in your heart."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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