Beadles mania

By By Elizabeth Frome

By Elizabeth Frome

“Proud. Courageous. Strong.” The Gaelic tattoo that garnishes Zane Beadles’ left arm defines everything about him8212;his personality, work ethic and family life.

Raised in Sandy, the Utes’ all-conference left tackle has been involved in local sports since he played football, basketball and baseball during his time at Hillcrest High School. Beadles has had a stellar career with the Utes, and says his debut in football came about because of an elementary school trend.

“I was 10 years old, and all my friends wore their jerseys to school every Friday, and I thought it was pretty cool,” Beadles said. “I wanted to be able to wear a jersey on Fridays so I asked my dad if I could play some football.”

But getting involved in sports was no accident. The son of two former collegiate athletes, Beadles was destined to claim a spot in the sports world sooner or later.

Beadles’ mother, Jamie Legerski, played basketball at Wichita State University, as well as Hutchinson Community College in Kansas where she met Zane’s father, Brad Beadles, who played for the school’s baseball team.

In addition to his family history, Zane Beadles also had size working in his favor for an athletic future.

Legerski said she remembers being called to the office at Beadles’ elementary school with complaints that Beadles was knocking kids down on the playground. After watching him play basketball for a few minutes, Legerski said she realized what the problem was.

“Another kid would hit him, but Zane’s pure body size was knocking kids to the ground,” Legerski said.

Despite his size advantage, Beadles always envisioned himself on the baseball field. He was a team captain in high school, lettering all three years and receiving first-team all-region honors in 2005. Despite his accomplishments on the diamond, no offers for college baseball positions were made. However, football coaches were eager to talk to Beadles.

“Baseball was my first love, and that’s what I wanted to play in college, but I kept growing,” Beadles said. “There are not a lot of 6’4″, 300-pound baseball players, and I finally realized that football was probably my calling.”

Humble beginnings

Beadles had already made a name for himself as a football player during high school when he was named team captain of Hillcrest’s football team and was recognized as a first-team all-state, all-region lineman. He was a three-year starter and never missed a game during his high school career.

Beadles continues to show his dedication for the game, making football an area of his life that has been heavily recognized and applauded by many teammates and coaches at the U.

Friends, fellow students and family members have also praised Beadles for his character off the field.

Roommate, former teammate and friend Louie Sakoda said he looks up to Beadles for his work ethic, drive and responsible attitude.

Sakoda said Beadles has been an asset to the Utes’ offensive team not only because of talent, but also because of the qualities he has demonstrated off the turf.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham said he just can’t say enough about Beadles’ character.

“He takes care of business and is a no-nonsense guy,” Whittingham said. “He’s the type of guy you love to coach.”

Beadles has played on the offensive line since he started at the U but has managed to make an
impression on the defensive side of the team as well.

“For me, as a defensive guy, seeing him from the other side, he’s a leader all around,” said defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake. “Guys look up to him. He’s big in stature, but more than anything, he’s big in character.”

Academic accomplishments

In addition to being a captain and four-year starter with the Utes, Beadles is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and will graduate in December. Beadles said he has always been interested in designing defense weapons and could see himself with such a career if his football days were to end with the 2009 season.

“We’re the proudest of him about school,” Legerski said. “It blows my mind away of what he has accomplished academically, especially while playing a Division 1 sport.”

“Whatever I try to do in life, I’m trying to do it to my best ability and to the fullest,” Beadles said. “I think that’s huge for success.”

A loving side

Although Legerski is proud of the tough, aggressive fight he puts up in between the lines, she said she knows the softer side of her son, describing him as kind, motivated and loving.

She said Beadles takes time regularly to connect with his siblings and is looked up to by his younger brother, Joseph, who couldn’t wait to tell his friends that his brother isn’t just a Utah team captain in a football video game.

Legerski said she’s proud of Beadles for the example he sets for his siblings and is amazed by the kind of son he is.

Although he is described as a naturally friendly guy, chances are that Beadles would like his kind and loving side temporarily hidden come Sept. 3 when the Utes meet the Aggies at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Beadles is a preseason all-conference selection this year and is eagerly awaiting the start of his senior season. He is on the preseason watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award8212;awarded to college football’s most outstanding lineman or linebacker8212;and finished out the 2008 season with 42 pancake blocks and 27 cuts. He has been compared to former Ute Jordan Gross, who is the offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers.

With the first game of his senior year right around the corner, Beadles is expecting this season to be his best yet.

“I have huge hopes and expectations for myself,” Beadles said. “I believe that there’s always somebody out there who’s bigger and better than you, and if you’re not getting better every single day, you’re getting worse.”

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Tyler Cobb