HUNTINGTON — Marshall linebacker Tavante Beckett was everywhere for the Thundering Herd defense in Saturday’s 17-7 win over No. 23 Appalachian State. Now, Beckett is all over the national landscape as well.
Beckett’s performance against the Mountaineers landed him Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Week award, as announced by the league on Monday.
“All he does is just make plays,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said of Beckett following Saturday’s win. “He makes plays. He plays with great intensity.”
Beckett finished with a career-high 16 tackles and a forced fumble that propelled him to the nation’s lead in tackles per game among linebackers. Through two games, Beckett has 24 tackles and has led Marshall in each contest.
Beckett is the leader of a defense for the Thundering Herd that has allowed just seven points while limiting the opposition to under 100 yards rushing in each of two victories.
The key has been stopping the ball at the point of attack, where Marshall’s defensive line is holding up the line and allowing Beckett and those on the second and third levels to swarm ball-carriers. That type of cohesion as a unit is something Beckett said makes the game fun.
“We’ve got a great group of guys that love to play football and go to work every day,” Beckett said.
Beckett’s been a playmaker throughout his time at Marshall, but Holliday spoke to his senior linebacker emerging into the leader of the defense and showing the way for young linebackers around him. That effort started in the preseason and Holliday said the rewards of that work are coming full circle. He’s been a captain two weeks in a row,” Holliday said. “Guys have great respect for him.’’
On Fridays, Marshall’s captains speak to the team, and Beckett explained that those Friday night talks by the captains are the calm before Saturday’s storm.
“As it gets closer to the game, your energy picks up,” Beckett said. “Before the game, [it’s] kind of calm. The day of the game, I try to motivate them as much as I can.”
Beckett said that the key for the Herd now is to continue the momentum built over the first two games. Marshall now potentially faces a long layoff with its next scheduled game coming Oct. 10 when the Herd travels to Western Kentucky for the Conference USA opener.
“We don’t care who we’re playing,”Beckett said. “As long as we’re doing what we’re doing, we’re going to handle business. [It’s] just going to work, practicing every day — what got us here and what got us through this game and sticking with that.
“Don’t change anything. You don’t ever want to switch it up too much. You want it to stay the same — stick to the same process — because we trust in the process.”
Beckett’s award marked the second time in two games that a Marshall player has been recognized by the conference in weekly awards.
After the week one win over Eastern Kentucky, freshman quarterback Grant Wells earned the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week Award.