By Harrison Putt, Mississippi State Athletics Media Relations
A champion already, Ben Beckwith has done something almost unheard of in the Southeastern Conference: join a team as a walk-on and eventually earn a starting position.
Beckwith, a junior right guard from Benton, Miss., heard his name called in Houston, Texas, to enter against Oklahoma State in the season opener after then-starter Justin Malone went down with an injury.
"It's always bad when a teammate goes down," Beckwith said. "Justin's a big-time player, and I hated to see him fall to injury.
"I feel like I've worked my way up. I've been here four years so I know the system pretty well, and hopefully the guys relax with me in there as well."
Knowing the system pretty well is an understatement when talking about Beckwith. The 305-pound behemoth has done it all. He serves as the rocker on the field goal team, the shield on punt team and can now add starting right guard to his collection of positions.
The wonderful thing about this Mississippi State football team is its acceptance all players, regardless of if they were a five-star recruit out of high school or a walk on from small-town school Benton Academy like Beckwith.
"When I got put on scholarship, Coach Mullen told me he trusted me with all my responsibilities and felt like it was my time to contribute greatly to this football team," Beckwith said. "That was one of the best feelings I've ever had, but my first real start felt better than all of that."
Contributing greatly to the Mississippi State football team is something Beckwith has officially accomplished. He has received the help of a few people along the way, including All-American guard Gabe Jackson.
"It's been great to work behind Gabe these last few years and learn from him everyday," Beckwith said. "Gabe really leads by example. He's the father of the offensive line group.
“I'm always on my iPad trying to figure out everything out before a game. Gabe always tells me to just relax and gives me true confidence in myself. He reminds me how long I’ve been here, and he gives me great confidence when I talk to him."
Beckwith, who sports a beard that would fit in with the MSU baseball team, can now have the confidence of a starter.
"It's kind of funny, I had someone tweet me the other day claiming I was joining the baseball team because of my beard and long hair."
Bulldog fans everywhere are hoping Beckwith’s beard, along with his skill at right guard, will bring many wins back to Starkville.