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Blacksburg and Virginia Tech grad Cole Beck ‘pumped’ for Jets rookie minicamp

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Cole Beck’s speed has not gone unnoticed by the NFL.

The Blacksburg High School and Virginia Tech graduate has accepted an invitation to the New York Jets’ rookie minicamp, which will begin Friday.

“I’m very pumped for this opportunity to go showcase my skills in front of NFL coaches and hopefully make an NFL team like I’ve always dreamed of doing,” Beck said Sunday in a phone interview. “I’m stoked for it.”

Beck, who played football and ran track at Virginia Tech, also has been invited to the Atlanta Falcons’ rookie minicamp. The Falcons’ rookie minicamp does not begin until May 10. So if the Jets have not signed him by that point, Beck could head to Atlanta as well.

Beck was not chosen in the three-day, seven-round NFL Draft, which concluded Saturday. But his agent received the Falcons’ rookie minicamp invitation Friday and the Jets’ offer Saturday night.

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“I was hoping I would creep into that last round,” said Beck, who was a two-time Timesland male athlete of the year when he was in high school. “But for the career I’ve had at Virginia Tech, that was unrealistic in a way.”

A rookie minicamp gives him the chance to try out for a team, with nothing assured for him beyond that weekend.

“I’ve got a new chance to start over at the highest level of the game,” he said. “I’m going to showcase everything I have.”

Because Beck was not drafted nor was he offered guaranteed money as an undrafted free agent, he is free to participate in multiple rookie minicamps.

But Beck is hoping to make such a good impression as a receiver and return man at the Jets’ rookie minicamp that New York signs him and wants him in its training camp.

Beck played in only four games for the Tech football team as a graduate student last fall. While playing on the punt coverage unit, he suffered a shoulder injury in a September game against Purdue. He missed the next three games. He suffered another shoulder injury while in punt coverage in an October game against Wake Forest. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in November.

“I’ve been 100% for a couple months now,” he said.

Beck was the 2021 ACC outdoor champ in the 100 meters and was the 2022 ACC indoor champ in the 200 meters. He owns the school record in the 100 (9.97 seconds). His Tech track career concluded in June with a ninth-place finish in the 100 final at the 2023 NCAA outdoor championships.

“Any team that’s interested in me is obviously looking at my speed and what I can produce with my legs,” he said. “I am a football player with a great amount of speed. I have to go out there and show them that I can play football and it doesn’t matter what position I’m at.”

Beck earned his bachelor’s degree in property management in 2022. He earned a master’s degree in building construction in December, so he was not in school this semester.

Beck was among the NFL hopefuls who were invited to play in the Tropical Bowl in Florida in January. He was not able to suit up because of his surgery, but he was able to interview with the Jets and other NFL teams there.

Beck spent a month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, training with former Tech assistant track and field coach Tim Vaught to get ready for the Tech football team’s pro day in March. Beck has been back in Blacksburg ever since Tech’s pro day.

Beck has qualified to run the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, which will be held in June in Oregon.

“If [the Jets] lock me down and sign me, I will continue to pursue the NFL with everything I have. If they’re cool with me going and competing in the Olympic trials for a couple days, then absolutely I will take advantage of that,” he said. “At the end of my football career I’m going to pursue the Olympics, if it’s this year or the one in 2028.”

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