Mormons in sports: John Beck and the high school tuba player

Published: Monday, Oct. 24 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Washington Redskins quarterback John Beck will get his opportunity to start a game this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Beck, a 30-year-old former BYU star, was the subject of a feature article Thursday in The Washington Post. Beck appeared on track to get the starting job at the beginning of the season but was relegated to backup behind Rex Grossman. Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall said the team is behind Beck.

“A lot of people thought he was going to be the starter from the start (of the season), so it’s no sense of panic or concern that John’s back there under center,” Hall told the Associated Press. “We feel confident with him out there. We’ve seen him pick us apart in practice, but game speed is a little different, things move a little bit faster, there’s no repeats, so hopefully he’ll go out there, he’ll feel pretty confident and he’ll get us a win. We need it.”

Beck started four games as a rookie in 2007 with Miami, but the Dolphins went 1-15. Before that, Beck led BYU to a Mountain West Conference championship and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Portugal. He’s also an Eagle Scout and loves the outdoors.

Another Mormon returned missionary is playing college football this season and was recently featured in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Jordan Devey is a 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive lineman for the University of Memphis in Tennessee. The 23-year-old followed an unusual path to the college football ranks, as outlined in the article. He thought his football career was over in the eight grade when he was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatters disease, an overuse injury that occurs in the knees of growing adolescents. So he played tuba in the American Fork High School band instead.

After serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Costa Rica, he decided to give football another try and was given an opportunity to play on the offensive line at Snow College. His pancake blocks earned him a roster spot and eventually caught the attention of Tigers coach Larry Porter.

“He is such a mature guy that he understands the things he needs to do on a daily basis to continue to develop and evolve at the position he’s playing,” Porter told Phil Stukenborg of the Commercial Appeal. “He still hasn’t peaked yet. Once he gets stronger in the weight room, he can become a dominant player.”

Memphis played Tulane on Saturday in the New Orleans Superdome.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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