By Matt Jenkins
---- — For many college football players playing below the Division 1 level, All-American recognition is the ultimate goal.
But not Danvers’ Tad Beuchert, whose selection as a Beyond Sports Network Honorable Mention All-American after his senior season at Division 2 Assumption College may just be a stairway to something more.
A placekicker with one year of eligibility remaining, Beuchert believes he is full of untapped potential — and that kicking is an avenue he intends to fully explore moving forward.
“Kicking is going to stay with me a while; I’m going to chase the dream for as long as I need to. Not because of the awards, but because it’s hard to let go of,” Beuchert said. “I love to do it and I’d love to play again.”
Beuchert, who was also named to the Don Hansen Football Gazette All-Super Region One Third Team this week, may spend his fifth year at Assumption. But has some offseason plans to tackle before discussing his situation with the coaching staff.
Next weekend he’ll head to Phoenix, Ariz. for Coach Zauner’s Kicker & Kickoff Specialists Camp for instruction, exposure and a better idea of where his talent stacks up against some other kickers from across the country.
In terms of experience, Beuchert is relatively new to the kicking game. He grew up playing soccer and didn’t make the switch to football until his junior year at St. John’s Prep. His first season kicking at the high school level was spent with the junior varsity team, then he advanced to the varsity as a senior.
He earned the starting kicking job at Assumption as a junior and has made major strides while in college.
This season he was selected to the Northeast-10 All-Conference First Team after leading the conference with 79 kicking points. He was tops in the NE-10 with 15 field goals and ranked eighth nationally. He blasted a career-best 48-yarder in a 41-27 win over Saint Anselm College, and kicked a 44-yard field goal in overtime in a game Assumption eventually lost to Stonehill, 41-38.
His highlight kick, however, was another 44-yard field goal with 3:21 left in the Greyhounds’ 26-23 victory over American International College. Beuchert had been hoping for a chance to to kick a game-winner, and he was pleased his coaches had the confidence to send him out in a big game against AIC.
“It’s an incredible feeling, overwhelming. It was something I always dreamed of and I think every kicker should dream of. It wasn’t last second, but I had missed my only extra point of the season in that game and it happened to be a tie game. I was pretty hard on myself on the sideline,” said Beuchert, a psychology major with a minor in biology.
“I had an opportunity to kick a 27-yarder (later) and then, with three minutes left, the go-ahead field goal. It was just an incredible opportunity, something that I always thought if I had the chance I needed to take advantage of it.”
Beuchert said he feels comfortable kicking from as deep as 55 yards, and the Assumption coaching staff obviously had confidence in him from long range. He connected on seven field goals from 35 yards or more, including four from 40-plus. He was also 34-for-35 on extra points.
Basically a self-taught kicker, Beuchert has put a lot of work in during the offseason. He’s especially grateful for being able to train with Peter Reppas of Repertoire Fitness.
“I worked really hard with Peter Reppas, who I’ve been training with for eight years now. He got my mindset ready to go into the season. He said to play like someone was trying to take my job,” said Beuchert, who also credited his parents, Doreen and Ted, for constant support.
“I’m in the best shape of my life and I competed every day. I acted like someone would come take my job and they brought another kicker in (to Assumption). We became good friends, but we competed every day.”
That drive to succeed propelled Beuchert into an award-winning season.
Now, he wants to find out how far it can carry him.
“I haven’t scratched the surface at all. I’m going to break out one day and do something big. Kicking is going to take me somewhere,” Beuchert said. “That’s my dream and I’m doing it one step at a time. I want to be successful in my craft.”