The prodigal son returned. San Francisco 49ers quarterback and BGA alum C.J. Beathard came home, to the place where it all began, to host his first summer football camp at his former high school.
“It feels great to be back in my hometown of Franklin,” Beathard said. “I just bought a house in Thompson’s Station and that’s where I spend a majority of my offseason.”
The former Iowa Hawkeye was joined by his younger brother, Clay Beathard, NFL teammate George Kittle, several other BGA football players and coaches. The past and present of Battle Ground Academy football came together to help prepare its future.
Campers ranged in age from kindergarteners all the way to high schoolers. They had the opportunity to get a feel for every aspect of the game. Whether that be the blocking station, set up by Kittle, an All-Pro tight end, or the passing station, or even the tackling station.
“It’s pretty cool when you’re that age, it’s like a dream to play in the NFL, and I know that a lot of kids here have that same dream,” Beathard said. “I just want to be an inspiration for these kids. Any time that they can see someone who was in their situation make it to the NFL, it’s gotta be good for them.
The heat was brutal, even at 9 a.m., but smiles never left the faces of the campers, the counselors or the parents who stayed and watched.
“It was great to be able to help out with the kids,” said BGA senior quarterback Nick Semptimphelter. “I’ve done it a lot before at other camps and it’s always fun, plus it was really cool having and NFL BGA alum.”
Beathard ended his camp with some advice for all of the young athletes out there.
“Never listen to anybody who tells you what you can and can’t be,” Beathard said. “Nowadays, there are so many people that want tell you what your potential is, but don’t listen to that, only you know what’s in your heart.”
Beathard is living proof that others can’t dictate potential. As a freshman, he was 5-foot-7 and 113 pounds, not exactly the ideal physique for a quarterback. But Beathard maintained his dream of becoming an NFL quarterback.
Despite odd looks from people he would tell his dreams to and a lack of encouragement from strangers, Beathard persevered. He graduated from BGA in 2012 after a great high school career and went on to play some hard-nosed football at the University of Iowa. He was the drafted to play quarterback by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.
“C.J.’s strong character and excellent work ethic embody the ideals of Battle Ground Academy and the BGA football program,” said Jonas Rodriguez, who recently became BGA’s head football coach. “It’s an honor to partner with him for the 2019 C.J. Beathard Football Camp.”