On Tuesday morning, word came across social media that head coach Randy Edsall had named Mike Beaudry the starting quarterback for next Thursday’s season opener against Wagner. The news was not completely surprising as Beaudry showed poise, leadership and command throughout camp.
Making the jump from Division II, to a starting quarterback of an FBS program is an accomplishment in and of’ itself. It doesn’t come without hard work, however, something Beaudry’s offseason personal QB Coach, Tony Racioppi, saw firsthand throughout the summer.
“Big, strong kid,” Racioppi said on Tuesday evening as he recalled his initial impression of Beaudry. “He could really spin the ball really well. He threw the ball effortlessly, could really drive the secondary 2nd and 3rd level throws.”
As Racioppi got his hands on him, he was able to fine tune a few parts of Beaudry’s fundamentals, with the focus on improving his consistency.
“He became much more consistent by being a little more balanced,” Racioppi said. “We worked on him turning a little more at the top of his drop in order to make it more of a straight throw, especially when throwing to the boundary. If you get more balance, you’ll be more accurate. If you use your hips as the power source, you’ll have the most velocity. That’s the perfect world, be accurate, with power.”
Beaudry was one of nine Division I quarterbacks that trained with Racioppi this summer. Included in that group were Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Artur Sitkowski (Rutgers) and Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee), all starters at P5 schools heading into the start of the 2019 season.
“It was great to see Mike compared to those guys,” Racioppi said. “He can throw it with each of them.”
Beaudry attended the Manning Passing Camp two years ago, where Racioppi coaches every year. It’s where the two briefly met, but it wasn’t until this summer where the two connected.
“He reached out to me this year to see if he could come on a weekend, to get some work in,” Racioppi recalled. “When he signed with UConn and was up in the northeast, it was a lot easier. He came down with his father, we trained for three days and he absolutely loved it. He asked if he could do this as many times as he could come down and he did. He got down a good amount. He would do his thing up at UConn every week and then come down on weekends. He definitely improved from the time he started.”
In Racioppi’s position, he gets to see players at all levels, with various work ethics. To him, Beaudry stood out.
“He’s a very committed kid,” he said. “He loves it. Doing what I do, you see kids that like it, but they aren’t in love with it. He’s a kid that absolutely loves it and loves getting better. He could come down here and we could stay for four hours if we wanted to. He wouldn’t want to leave the field unless you told him he was done.”
That strong work ethic and love for the game only led to further development this offseason. It’s one of the traits that helped Beaudry win the starting job, but as Racioppi highlighted, there are several other traits that makes him ready to play at this level.
“The first thing that jumps out at you is his size,” he said. “He’s every bit of 6’5″ 250-lbs. I’ll give him credit, when I first met him, he was probably hovering around 260-lbs and by the time I saw him at the end of the summer, he was down to probably the mid-240’s. He looked good. He kind of trimmed down to a fit 240-lbs, so his size really jumps out at you right away.”
“But he has really good feet,” he continued. “He’s not like a big, stiff kid. Sometimes those big, strong kids are kind of stiff and they aren’t really twitchy. He can move, he has really quick feet. He really spins the ball really well. When he drops and throws the ball, it’s pretty to watch.”
“I think he can be a great player at this level,” he concluded. “He’s a kid that has pro aspirations down the road. If you look at his size and his arm strength, he checks a lot of boxes for scouts. He’s going into a great situation. He’s a perfect guy to handle that situation. He’s mature, has played a ton and is a guy that is a steady Eddie. He’s a guy that can walk in that locker room, rally the troops and be a positive guy. And he’s a quarterback. He’s a guy that will get the guys to the field and throw, get the receivers in there early before the coaches and make sure they’re on the same page. He’s just an awesome kid. I’m really excited for him [for this season].”