GULFPORT – Boca Ciega hasn’t won many games lately, but they found a gem in linebacker Latayveon Beaton. The rising senior became a full-time varsity for the first time last season as a running back and safety. Transitioning to linebacker, he’s on track for a huge year.
At 5’11”, 196 lbs., Beaton is already up 11 lbs. from last season. He’s aiming to be at 210 lbs. by the start of the regular season.
Beaton totaled 72 tackles and six pass breakups while adding 560 yards from scrimmage (350 returning, 144 rushing, 66 receiving). He called his first season on varsity an easy transition.
“In my first spring game playing against a varsity team, it felt like little league,” Beaton said. “I didn’t think I was meant for defense. Now, I feel better off as a defensive player than an offensive player.”
He excels better against the run than anything else, he says. Beaton will start at outside linebacker while mixing in at safety, his position from a season ago. He envisions a big turnaround for the Pirates despite a 2-8 showing a year ago.
Boca Ciega hasn’t put together a winning season since 2007 and third-year head coach Max Smith has posted a 4-16 record as the man in charge. Despite the struggles as of late, Beaton says playing under Smith is something that is very good.
“When I came in my high school year, he [Smith] just came in. He’s so pumped about football. Everything about him is football. He tells me not to quit and to stay aggressive.”
Beaton says he started to realize he could fit right in during last year’s spring game against Desoto. He gained confidence in the second game of last season against Gibbs (video here).
“I had six big hits. I thought to myself, “I can do this throughout my career.”
Starting his football career at age 8 as a defensive lineman and fullback, Beaton eventually moved to wide receiver and running back. He’ll play offensively as a fullback on top of his duties as a linebacker this season.
As for his biggest strengths, he says that is his hitting and ability to blow up blocks. He wants to continue to improve his lateral movement.
Beaton has interest from four teams including Akron, Bowling Green, Samford and Toledo.
He took part in a University of Florida camp on Friday.
“I loved it. I stood out and was always in the front of the line,” he said about the UF camp. “I got fired up quickly and went up against the best receivers.”
Soon he’ll take a trip that features stops at Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Bucknell, Cincinnati from June 15-20. A tournament in Texas in July will have him at even more college programs.
When he isn’t practicing with Boca Ciega, he’s playing for 7-on-7 ball with head coach BJ Hall and Team Florida.
Beaton’s biggest role model is former West Virginia safety and current Oakland Raiders rookie Karl Joseph.
“We hit just alike. We do everything alike. I’ve been watching him since he first got to college. I watched his highlights when he was at Edgewater.”
The ultimate goal for Beaton is to make it to the NFL, but if he can’t do that he says he still wants to do something in sports. He plans to study sports medicine in college.
Beaton has adapted well to his transition to defense simply because he isn’t afraid to put his body on the line. He flies around the field on each and every snap.
Latayveon Beaton moving to outside linebacker will put him in an even better situation to make plays. This kid stands out more often than not. Make sure to catch a Boca Ciega game this season just to see his big hits.
Favorite player to watch – Florida State DB Darwin James, Oakland Raiders S Karl Joseph, Houston Texans S KJ Dillion, San Diego Chargers LB Denzel Perryman, Atlanta Falcons S Keanu Neal
Playlist before games – Chief Keef, Owl Nation, Lil Landrick
Favorite movies – Ride Along, Rudy, Deadpool
Favorite TV shows – Animal Planet (Untamed and Uncut), Sci-Fi
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I like to dance. I just like to move a lot. My go to dances are the dab and the hit them folks.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Hitman”, “Tay”, “Agent 47”
Game film: Beaton’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.