Statistics are useful tools for preliminary football evaluation. It even trickles down to the high school ranks. A popular question for DawgNation this fall has landed on prized QB commit Carson Beck and his senior season.
When they saw the early returns on his senior season, opinions then followed suit.
It is important to cite all of the numbers for the Mandarin High (Jacksonville, Fla.) senior as we step into this discussion. Carson Beck posted the following totals (via Maxpreps.com) last fall during his first year as a full-time starting QB in high school football:
- 209 completions across 356 attempts (59% completion percentage)
- 39 TDs/8 INTs (TD: INT ratio of 4.9/1)
- 3,546 yards (253 yards per game)
- Led a 6-4 team to an 11-4 finish and a state title in Florida’s largest classification
- Was a rare junior who earned Florida’s “Mr. Football” honor for 2018
Now compare that to his 2019 totals:
- 75 completions across 165 attempts (45% completion percentage)
- 9 TDs/8 INTs (TD: INT ratio of 1.1/1)
- 1,044 yards (149 yards per game)
- His Mustangs have the same 4-3 record today as they did after seven games in 2018
With that, let’s add a sprinkle of numbers for some necessary context, too.
- 0: The number of phone calls the Georgia staff has made to Mandarin High wondering what is up with their Elite 11 QB commit.
- 1: The number of seniors in the two-deep for Beck at receiver this fall. The lone senior does not start.
- 2: Current players on the Mandarin offense (including Beck) with a scholarship offer
- 1.5: That’s how many offensive starters are back (including Beck) from last year’s state title team. The other returning starter is now a part-time starter.
- 2: The number of scholarship receivers (Liberty and FIU) Beck had in 2018
- Mandarin’s losses have been to teams with a combined 18-3 record, including two perfect seasons
- Beck was 33-for-81 (41 percent) for 388 yards with 3 TDs and 4 INTs in those starts
Does Georgia have its next multi-year starting quarterback in Beck? Those that believe that will tend to regard that last dusting of information as factors. Those that don’t yet see that will look at those as excuses.
Let’s continue this narrative with an opinion that is central to this topic.
“It was tough in the beginning I was getting a lot of hate but most people don’t know the whole story and they don’t need to know,” Carson Beck told DawgNation this week.
His Mustangs are even set to play at 7 p.m. on ESPNU tonight. Beck and Mandarin will face his training buddy Jeff Sims (QB commit to FSU) and Sandalwood. They will look to improve to 5-3 this fall.
Beck has not turned the ball over in his last 14 quarters. That’s a positive fact. Not a factor.
“The last three-and-a-half games he’s played very well,” Mandarin High coach Bobby Ramsay told DawgNation. “If the completion percentage hasn’t looked as sexy as people would like it since then, it is probably because there have been drops. It hasn’t been a case of ‘why did you throw that ball there’ with Carson.”
Beck can be a polarizing figure in Jacksonville and on social media. The 6-foot-4.5, 225-pounder was a Florida guy who had at one time committed to playing baseball in Gainesville. That’s before his football career blew up and he committed to play for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.
But there was a time when he was trending to the Gators for football.
That came after he had de-committed from Alabama. Beck did so after every coach he knew there left after the 2018 season. He wound up choosing Georgia only a few days after he picked up a long-sought offer from the program.
Carson Beck: The 2019 story so far
Beck’s pledge to UGA came with a lot of hype. He had that sterling junior season that included an absolute barrage of big plays during the 8A state playoffs. The 4-star prospect dealt out 17 touchdowns with just two picks. He threw for 1,495 yards in that playoff run despite not playing full games in those contests.
His state championship game (25-of-36 for 330 yards, 5 TDs, O INTs) will be talked about for some time in Florida high school football history, including a laser NFL-level throw that impressed the former NFL QBs who were in the stadium that night.
His star was at its highest then, including when he committed to UGA. Since that point, his solid but not spectacular Elite 11 caught some eyes. Georgia’s fans are used to seeing guys like Jake Fromm and Justin Fields take over that thing.
It isn’t as easy for the fan base recall that other big names (Jacob Eason and Trevor Lawrence) didn’t turn that event into their highlight reel.
He had a much better showing at the QB Collective. That event takes place under the watchful eyes of several NFL coaches and staffers, but it never gets the publicity the Elite 11 does.
Beck got off to a slow start (8 INTs in his first four games) with his senior season. It created several threads on the DawgNation message board forum wondering if he had forgotten how to throw a football.
He did not. Clearly. He had a sterling performance against a good Oakleaf team (5-2) last week.
Mr. Beck had himself a nice game last night. 🏈 https://t.co/VRxlnJl8Tl
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 12, 2019
Georgia QB commit Carson Beck for 6. Mandarin HS got a big win last night. https://t.co/GqzkR4qOk1
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 12, 2019
“I get it,” Mandarin coach Bobby Ramsay said. “People like Joe Fan see the numbers and see that he was Mr. Football and just see the numbers. He had four touchdowns and seven picks at one point, but he has just kept getting better and better each week.”
There is even the likelihood that Georgia will try to take a second QB prospect in 2020, if possible. That seems a logical move with Jake Fromm’s possible ascent to the NFL and the long-term health of freshman D’Wan Mathis also a question mark.
Those stats keep folks wondering, though. The only explanation some might accept would be if an injury forced him to throw with a different arm.
The ability is still all there. The curious types also need to take in the notion that he’s thrown six touchdowns to just one interception over his last four games.
Do more with less. Take what’s there. Control what you can control. He’s learning all of those lessons before he arrives in the SEC pressure cooker at UGA.
Beck now just tries to lead his team and make the plays that are there.
“Overall this year has made me better as a leader and I’ve become a better person because of it,” Beck said. “I’ve faced a whole lot of adversity and I just keep battling back and grinding through it all. Now that we’re seven weeks (into the season) we have made massive strides and I really think we can make a run in the postseason.”
He’s dipped a bit in the prospect rankings. Beck is currently rated as the nation’s No. 5 pro-style QB and No. 152 overall for 2020. It says something about a player’s reputation and NFL tools when that spot in the national rankings can be considered a slide.
Carson Beck: A different player in 2019?
Denny Thompson, his quarterback trainer, has an impressive reputation in North Florida. He watches him every week.
He feels that Beck is five times the quarterback he was at this time a year ago.
“This is exactly what he needs,” Thompson told DawgNation. “He’s having to do so much just to keep that team upright because of how young they are. It sucks for him but he will definitely pick up a lot of leadership skills out of it.”
There have been some good and not-so-good plays for Beck in 2019. DawgNation tries to catch the live streams or recaps of all his games in 2019.
The Mandarin offense doesn’t have the downfield threat that it did a year ago. Kris Mitchell, who’s now at FIU, was that deep threat. Liberty freshman Demario Douglas caught four of Beck’s five touchdown passes in the 8A state title game.
The Mustangs have missed those guys. (Yes, that phrasing eerily sounds like the Georgia offense at this current stretch of the season.)
There have been some games where his receivers can just not get separation. There were some reps earlier this year where he made some ill-advised throws into tight windows or under pressure.
But he’s making something out of it. He looks like a more athletic QB this fall. Capable of getting more than 4-5 yards on an “RPO” play when it is there.
“He’s a much more athletic quarterback this year with his feet,” Ramsay said. “There’s something there with his feet that I hope the next level takes advantage of more so than we have. He really does a good job of extending plays and making something happen when it’s not there especially inside the 20 when the windows get really tight to throw the football.”
It might be the constant pressure. Or it might be the yoga he does all the time now. While watching some of his films, it doesn’t strike so much Jake Fromm anymore. More like Joe Burrow.
“I’d say that Joe Burrow is a fair comparison,” Ramsay said.