ARLINGTON – Michael Van Beek of Arlington is fitting in well with his new team – the Washington State University Cougar football squad.
Van Beek was practicing in Lewiston, Idaho, this week, with temperatures expected to reach as high as 112 degrees Thursday.
His mom, Tracy, said Thursday he is loving it there. “It feels like home to him,” she said.
Van Beek reported to Pullman just a few days after his high school graduation. He took three classes this summer and passed them all with flying colors. He’s also been working out in the gym with the football team.
“It’s been a major benefit for him” reporting early, his mom said.
Even when he flew home to Arlington after the summer program and before fall camp started Aug. 2 he was working out. “He ran the stairs” at the Arlington stadium with former Eagle teammates at 7 a.m., Tracy said. “He’s a positive role model. He gives them hope.”
After starring on both the offensive and defensive lines for Arlington, Van Beek turned down a scholarship at Central Washington to walk-on at Wazzu. The 6-foot-3, 282 pound freshman is working out with the WSU defense. His mom said he is enjoying the Cougars defensive style of play, trying to get around or through rather than engaging with the opposing lineman to get to the ball carrier.
Originally the plan was for him to redshirt this year. A new NCAA rule would allow him to play in up to four games and still redshirt, saving a year of eligibility.
Tracy said Van Beek is fitting in so well that the transition has been a “harder adjustment for us” – his parents.
“It’s hard to see him move out, but great to see him so happy living his dream,” she said.