August 13, 2007

Hard work, patience pays off for Beecher

A year ago, Tommy Beecher was light years away from becoming the starting quarterback for South Carolina.

Now he's on the doorstep.

A year of remarkable progress for the redshirt sophomore from Concord, N.C. has put Beecher in a tight struggle with Chris Smelley for the top backup QB job behind Blake Mitchell.

Both of them are closing the gap rapidly on USC's three-year starter. USC head coach Steve Spurrier called the race between Beecher and Smelley too close to call after Saturday's scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Twenty-four hours later, he declared Beecher and Smelley both ready to play if Mitchell faltered or suffered an injury.

A healthy combination of intelligence, work ethic and talent has brought Beecher to this moment. He's majoring in actuary mathematics and plans to attend medical school when his football playing days are concluded.

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