It has been six years since Larry Beavers graduated from Dover’s Wesley College after a standout football career with the Wolverines. Since then, Beavers has pursued a professional football career that has seen him make stops in the NFL, CFL, and AFL. Now, after a successful season with the AFL’s New Orleans VooDoo, Beavers may have finally found his niche.
“I’ve been saying that to myself for the last two years, and I believe it now,” said Beavers. “I definitely feel like I’ve found a home here.”
Beavers is listed at 5’10” 186 lbs, which isn’t the ideal size when one thinks about a pro football player. However, at Wesley College Beavers proved that size alone does not make the player. Beavers’ speed and elusiveness helped him become one of the best receivers in Wesley College history.
Beavers finished with 2,366 yards receiving at Wesley, good enough for second all-time in school history. Also, Beavers’ 123 receptions rank him fourth all-time for the Wolverines.
While Beavers was a threat at wide-out, he really found his worth as a kick return specialist. Beavers still holds the NCAA all-divisions record for kick return touchdowns with 10, and holds the Wesley record for kick return yards with 2,070.
After his college career, Beavers went to training camp with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, missing the cut both times. He then moved on to the Iowa Barnstormers of the AFL before failing to make the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos out of training camp in 2011. After a practice squad run with the Pittsburgh Power of the AFL, Beavers signed with the VooDoo where he’s finally caught on.
During his six-year professional career, Beavers has played in three different leagues. All of those leagues have different rules and field lengths, which can have an effect on a players skills and how they use them.
For instance the AFL, where Beavers currently plays, has 60-yard long field, which is surrounded by walls similar to a hockey rink, opposed to open-sided NFL (100 yards) and CFL (150 yards) fields.
“It’s a big transition, especially as a wide receiver,” said Beavers. “With a 60-yard field you’d think it would be hard to use your speed but being able to go in motion is a benefit, especially playing on the outside. In the NFL, on the outside everyone is pretty much the same speed and you’re at a standstill, so there are benefits to the arena style for me.”
In a little over a season and a half with the VooDoo, Beavers has learned the nuances of the arena game and believes in many ways it can rival the other professional leagues.
“I’ve learned that playing the arena game is a lot faster and a lot quicker,” Beavers said. “I think you get hit harder in the arena league because you can get hit up against the walls, and trust me they don’t move.”
Beavers’ coach at Wesley, Mike Drass, still keeps tabs on his former wide out, and he’s impressed with the progression of Beavers’ career.
“Larry was the fastest player I have ever seen,” Drass said. “He destroyed the competition on the small college level and when we went to visit him when he was with the Carolina Panthers, he was one of their fastest players. We are very proud of his success in the AFL and we can’t wait to see him on the field in 2015.”
Beavers keeps in touch with his old college coach and teammates.
“I still talk to Coach Drass and some former players who are working on his staff,” Beavers said. “Coach Drass always keeps in contact with me, he tells me he’s watching the games and rooting for me.”
Even though Beavers has seemingly found a home with the VooDoo, he still has dreams of strapping on an NFL helmet again.
“Yes, definitely it’s still my dream,” said Beavers. “If it doesn’t happen, in all honesty I’m happy with where I am and what I’ve accomplished but I’d still love another shot.”