Leading The Defense
By Julian Jackson
Special to GoHolyCross.com
The Holy Cross football team is in the business of building leaders, and senior linebacker Nick McBeath is no exception. Prior to the 2017 season, McBeath was named one of the team’s three captains, and it is not something he takes lightly. “It’s such an honor,” said McBeath. “It means so much to me and I take pride in the leadership role I play, along with Peter Pujals and James Murray. I’m the only defensive captain and I look forward to getting our defense ready to perform. But we are lucky to have so many leaders on this team and everybody pitches in to make sure we are competing at the highest level.”
A starter since his freshman season, McBeath has been achieving at a high level since first setting foot on Fitton Field. As a junior in 2016, he put up impressive numbers, tallying 106 tackles on the season while earning First Team All-Patriot League honors and receiving the Davitt Award, given to the Crusaders’ top defensive back. The honor helped him cement his spot as a team captain for the upcoming season.
While his junior season may have been impressive individually, McBeath is always looking forward and is always focused on the success of his team. “Although last year was a good year for me personally, that doesn’t mean much since we didn’t meet our goals as a team,” McBeath emphasized.
His leadership role stretches from the library to the locker room to the gridiron, as the senior captain is willing to do whatever it takes to fill his role in bringing a championship to Mount St. James. “We are back and improving every day as a team, our defense is looking better and we are pushing each other as hard as we can on and off the field.”
Injury & Recovery
While McBeath has excelled on the field during the past two seasons, his collegiate career took an unexpected turn during his sophomore season. After starting the first six games of the season at linebacker, he suffered a season-ending injury at Fordham. “I was off to a great start, but the broken arm against Fordham was disappointing,” said McBeath. Even after going down with an injury, by his sophomore year McBeath was already a leader for the team and was not willing to let the injury hamper his leadership and support for his teammates.
While he was working hard with the athletic trainers and sports performance coaches to get back to full strength, McBeath was also doing everything he could to continue to contribute to the team’s success. “It was so hard not to be on the field because I have so much passion for the game,” explained McBeath. “But it gave me a new valuable perspective. I was able to play more of a coaching role, helping some of the guys see things that they couldn’t see from the field and helping them improve.”
The support of his teammates during his recovery never wavered. Having such a strong support system from his teammates, the coaching staff and other athletic and academic staff undoubtedly helped get him back to 100 percent as fast as possible. “The guys supported me so much during my offseason training and worked to help me get back to full strength and return the next season as a top defensive player,” said McBeath. He also emphasized the value of the new facilities at the Luth Athletic Complex in helping the team be their best on game day. “Everyone is super excited about the new facility and the edge it will give our team. The new weight room and athletic training facilities will help with recovery and keeping our team as healthy as possible and ready to perform.”
Drive for a Championship
After honing his football and leadership abilities at Holy Cross during the past three seasons and enduring a long recovery from injury, McBeath is well prepared to continue his role in leading the Crusader defense for the remainder of the season.
Although McBeath is proud to be a captain, impact player and leader on the team, he still has the ultimate goal in his sights to cap off his senior season. “We’re moving in the right direction,” said McBeath. “We are striving every day towards our end goal of winning a Patriot League Championship.”
This story originally appeared in the Holy Cross Football Gameday Magazine for the Oct. 21 contest between the Crusaders and Colgate.