Van Alstyne's Beckham to kick for North Texas
VAN ALSTYNE — Aaron Beckham grew up dreaming of using his right leg to kick goals past keepers and not field goals through uprights.
His soccer upbringing honed a skill which has translated so well to the football field that it is where the Van Alstyne senior will continue his athletic career in college.
“A good 75 percent of my leg strength is from soccer,” Beckham said. “If you would have told me freshman or sophomore year I was going to be playing in college, I would have said it’s for soccer. It totally took a whole left turn.”
The three-year starter and multiple all-district selection announced he will kick for the University of North Texas.
Beckham chose the Division I program over interest from Texas A&M, Baylor and Florida.
At a National Kicking Rankings camp at AT&T Stadium in late January, he was given a five-star ranking, the top spot in the Class of 2021 for Texas and at sixth in the country.
“I kinda had conversations with UNT before that but then they really made a point to get me,” Beckham said. “A lot of my family went through North Texas. It’s not that far from home, just an hour.”
Since Van Alstyne does not have a soccer program, Beckham has been playing on the club team Dallas Roma and been involved in the sport since he was four years old. In 2019 he was part of a Stars ‘N Stripes soccer tour that competed across Europe in places such as Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Greenland and he was the leading goal scorer on the trip.
Beckham, who also plays baseball and does track, got involved with football in eighth grade and gravitated to the position for an obvious reason.
“They needed a kicker and I figured it was some I could do,” Beckham said. “I really started taking it serious junior year. You can’t stop getting better. Kicking can take you a lot of places.”
Beckham has been training with former NFL kicker Scott Blanton since his sophomore year and continued to improve his range.
Coming into his senior season, Beckham’s career-best had been 41 yards. He blew past that in Week 2 when he connected on a 51-yarder in a win over Bonham.
“The day after I made the 51-yarder, I got emails from like 20 coaches,” Beckham said.
He made seven of 10 field goal tries as a senior in addition to handling punting duties for the first time.
During district play against Celina, he kicked field goals of 48, 45 and 37 yards.
In the bi-district loss to Graham, Beckham had a 47-yard field goal.
He was a first-team all-district selection at both kicker and punter as the Panthers finished fourth in District 4-4A (II) and made the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
As a sophomore he was a second-team all-district selection.
In his three seasons on varsity, he made 39-of-45 extra points and 15-of-20 field goals.
North Texas went 4-6 this past season and 3-4 in Conference USA play to go with a loss against Appalachian State in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
The Mean Green have only one kicker on the roster for the 2021 season: junior Ethan Mooney, who has been their main kicker the past two seasons after handling kickoffs as a freshman.
“Ethan and I will be switching back and forth,” Beckham said. “I wouldn’t be going to UNT if I didn’t think I could have a chance to contribute. They already have a punter but I’ll always try it if they ask.”