By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
Anthony Beck maintains high standards for his booming punts at Georgia Southern.
The former South Effingham standout earned third-team All-Sun Belt Conference recognition in his second year as the Eagles’ starting punter. He averaged 41.8-yards a kick during the 2020 football season, but Beck wants to be better.
“I wasn’t too happy to be honest,” Beck said. “I felt like I lacked strength during COVID and it showed. The average isn’t what I look at. I’ve been working harder this offseason at some of the little things and it’s making a big difference.”
The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has been one of pleasant surprises out of South Effingham’s football program. For two years, he started at quarterback for the Mustangs and hoped to head to college as a quarterback.
But in the middle of his senior season, Beck saw SEHS elevate sophomore Taylor Jackson to signal caller.
“It all worked out and I was glad I handled it maturely and still had fun my senior season,” said Beck, who worked with kicking coach Patrick Means (an assistant at Richmond Hill) and got even more looks as a punter.
Beck joined the Eagles as a preferred walk-on and a year later sported the look of solidarity amongst his specialist teammates with a Mohawk haircut.
“I’m still rockin’ the mohawk,” Beck said proudly. “I think it’s going to be my look until my playing days are over.”
Better get accustomed to the Mohawk. Beck has been in the Eagles’ starting lineup beginning with the 2019 season opener against eventual national champion LSU.
“(The coaching staff) told me I’d be starting, but it was a little nerve-wracking,” Beck said. “(Long snapper) Ryan Langan gave me some encouragement. His first game was against Auburn (in the 2017 opener). He said, “Go out there and have fun.”
Georgia Southern lost big, but it was a big night for Beck. He punted nine times for a 44-yard average. His last kick traveled 74 yards — a Tiger Stadium record and just a yard short of Georgia Southern’s all-time mark.
As a freshman, Beck reeled in more accolades, earning a Sun Belt Special Team Player of the Week honor after a game against Louisiana Monroe and ESPN.com’s All-Bowl team after a top outing in the Cure Bowl against Liberty University.
Before the season, Beck credited success to workouts with kicking guru Doc Spurgeon.
“Coach Spurgeon definitely gave me a solid grid to work on,” Beck said.
As a sophomore, Beck continued to progress and he was projected to rise to second-team all-conference in 2021 in a May edition of Athlon.
Off the field, Beck has been on the honor roll all three years at Georgia Southern. He said he’ll have a chance to graduate with a degree in business management in the fall or spring.
And he still has three years of playing eligibility left. Big decisions are ahead, he said.
So Beck continues the tedious task of perfecting his punting technique, spending hours just dropping the football from hand to foot.
“Once you get a consistent drop, you get a consistent punt,” he said.