If Tommy Beecher returns to Columbia in 2009, it appears it will be in a corner office of an insurance company, not in the quarterbacks meeting room at the Floyd Building.
Beecher, who lasted one game as the starting quarterback after Steve Spurrier anointed him No. 1 following spring practice, will be among the 26 seniors honored Saturday before what presumably will be their final home game.
The vast majority of players who participate in Senior Day activities are those in their final season of eligibility (Jasper Brinkley, the Lindseys, etc.) and walk-ons who have put in a good four years and are moving on.
The more intriguing names are those of the fourth-year players who have another year of eligibility remaining.
When USC’s list of departing seniors first came out this week, tailback Bobby Wallace was on it; Beecher was not.
But Spurrier said Wednesday both players will go through the Senior Day ceremony and he does not expect either to be back next season.
“If you’re not playing in your fourth year, the odds are you’re not going to play much in your fifth year,” Spurrier said.
This is not all that surprising. Since that N.C. State game, Beecher has been buried on the depth chart and, with Stephen’s Garcia emergence, would appear to have little chance of climbing out.
And though Beecher certainly would have liked his football career to go differently, he’s been exemplary off the field – carrying a 3.8 grade point average (highest on the team for a couple years running) in actuarial mathematics.
He already has several job opportunities in the insurance field.
Likewise, Wallace probably envisioned bigger and better things when he became the first recruit to commit to Spurrier in the winter of 2004-05. The diminutive back from Conway has had his moments, but has been unable to develop into an every-down back while living on the edge academically.
Spurrier says there is always a chance a player who walks out with his parents for Senior Day would come back for a fifth season. But that seems doubtful in the cases of Beecher and Wallace, who should soak up the moment Saturday during their senior send-off.