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May 2, 2011C.J. Beathard visited the Ole Miss campus when he was a high school freshman.
Something about that trip to Oxford stuck with Beathard, and he somehow knew he wanted to one day attend college there.
So when Ole Miss offered the Franklin (Battle Ground), Tenn., quarterback late last week, Beathard suddenly had a chance to achieve his goal.
"When they offered me, it was incredible," said Beathard, who committed to Ole Miss late Sunday, joining Memphis, Tenn., offensive guard Ben Still and Batesville, Miss., defenders Temario Strong and Issac Gross on the Rebels' 2012 commitment list. "I've always wanted to go to Ole Miss since my freshman year, and when I finally got offered, it was like my dream coming true. It was a great feeling. I was really excited. There was nowhere else I wanted to go."
Ole Miss was the first to offer the 6-foot-2 Beathard, who is the son of country music songwriter Casey Beathard and the grandson of legendary NFL executive Bobby Beathard.
"He's definitely a pro-style quarterback," Battle Ground coach Marty Euverard said. "He has an incredible arm. He can make any throw on the field and he's really tough. He doesn't get rattled.
"He's really skinny right now. But I know the Ole Miss coaches were really excited after they saw him. They came down and watched him throw live and were blown away."
Beathard said he's hoping to add 15 pounds in the next year and another 15 before he gets to Ole Miss. Some of that weight, he admitted, might come from a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
"I don't hold anything against anybody, but Ole Miss offered me from the start," Beathard said. "That's something I'll remember."
Beathard led Battle Ground to the state semifinals last season, throwing for 2,312 yards and 17 touchdowns. He said he wants to get bigger and stronger this offseason, improve on those statistics and win a state championship as a senior.
He knows it will take hard work to achieve those goals, lessons he learned as a youngster while attending training camps in San Diego and Atlanta, where his grandfather was an executive with those cities' NFL franchises.
"We used to always go up there around the training camps," said Beathard, who said he became a huge Drew Brees fan when the New Orleans Saints quarterback was the Chargers' signal-caller. "I watched (former Charger linebacker) Junior Seau, (former Falcons safety) Rodney Harrison, and you start recognizing how much work it takes."