Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Brennen Beyer, #97

Brennen Beyer (image via Bleacher Report)
Coming out of Plymouth (MI) Plymouth in 2011, Beyer was a Rivals 4-star, the #16 strongside end, and #201 overall. He committed in April of 2010 (LINK) and I gave him a TTB Rating of 82.

Despite being rather unready physically, Beyer played as a backup SAM linebacker during his freshman year. It was a position that was roughly similar to weakside end, so he was not asked to drop back in coverage often. He made 11 tackles during his inaugural season. He started nine games as a sophomore, making 19 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. As a junior in 2013, he bounced from starting at SAM linebacker (when Jake Ryan was recovering from a torn ACL) to starting at strongside end. He made 27 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and the biggest play of his career, a 7-yard interception return for a touchdown against Iowa (thrown by Jake Rudock, who will be playing for Michigan this coming fall). Beyer became the full-time starter at strongside end as a senior in 2014, finishing his final campaign with 35 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks.

92 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 pass breakup, 1 interception for 7 yards (TD)

Academic All-Big Ten, 2012-2014

I suppose in the grand scheme of things, my comparison between Roh and Beyer was quite apt. Both played linebacker for a spell before turning into strongside ends. Both also had trouble carrying enough weight for the strongside end position and were somewhat limited athletically. As you can see from the commitment post linked above, I always thought Beyer was a year behind where he should have been. He should have been redshirting in 2011 but he was a backup SAM. He should have been working his way slowly onto the field in 2012, but he started nine games. So on and so forth. Ideally, he would be entering his fifth year senior season and penciled in as a starter at one of the end positions. Early on in his career, I lamented Beyer's playing time because he simply didn't produce - through two seasons of significant playing time, he had exactly 30 total tackles and .5 tackles for loss. He started to come into his own during his last two seasons, when he was probably talented enough to be a spot starter or heavily used backup, but instead got pressed into duty as a SAM linebacker and strongside end, neither of which truly fit his skill set. Lamenting aside, he had a solid career and will always have that touchdown, which is a special moment for a defensive lineman.

. . . returning that Jake Rudock interception for a touchdown. You can't help but love watching the big guys up front get an interception once in a while, let alone return it for a score.

Beyer was not invited to the NFL Combine, but he had a decent performance at Michigan's pro day in mid-March. He ran a 4.9 forty, had a 4.12 shuttle, benched 225 lbs. 20 times, had a 33.5" vertical, and broad-jumped 9'2". He still probably won't get drafted simply because of the aforementioned lack of production. He lacks the size to be a strongside end in the NFL, and he lacks the speed to be an outside linebacker or weakside end at the next level. A team will probably bring him in for a tryout, but I doubt he will make an NFL roster.


  1. too late now, i know, but do you think beyer might have been more successful as a tight end?

  2. I think Frank Clark offers an interesting comparison. IIRC both guys arrived under 220#. To some degree, they were "projection" players (ones where you'd have to imagine them with more weight) as opposed to someone like Justin "Mr. Plow" Boren, who was ready to go right away size-wise.

    Clark got bigger (and better), Beyer struggled a bit to get bigger and wasn't as impressive at the higher weight.

    Maybe not quite that simple, but you get the general idea .....

  3. I watched him play in the high school state finals and I never got the impression from him that he was the best player on the field. He didn't dominate in the game and he often looked out of place. He was not a high motor kind of kid and wasn't the most physical specimen on the field. I am not sure if defense was his strong suit, but offense wasn't his either. He was really just a notch better than most of his team, but not enough I was seeing a superstar in college. Obviously the coaches saw something, but he never really hit that potential. Maybe it was all the changes, maybe is was a lack of effort or maybe it was just poor scouting. I am not sure a shift to the offense would have made a huge difference in his output while at Michigan. He is probably a great kid and he got a world class education. Best of luck to him.

  4. A Red Shirt year would have made all the difference for Beyer, that and possibly seeing what he could do as a TE. I saw him play at Plymouth and thought he might have been a better TE than DE.

    1. I agree. Hoke and the lack of depth in 2011 basically ruined his development. Glad to see that he was Academic All Big Ten for 2 consecutive years. Hopely he can do well after graduating.