Above: Cody Keith going through drills at Steve Clarkson’s Quarterbacks Camp. Keith will start at quarterback this fall for Maranatha.(Photo courtesy of Steve Clarkson)
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
The word around campus was quickly spreading.
Cody Keith, a transfer from North Carolina, was going to be on the Maranatha High School football field taking part in drills with quarterbacks coach Steve Clarkson.
On this unassuming winter afternoon, the football players were making their way to their sixth-period class, the last of the day.
The buzz surrounding Keith’s first scheduled workout was building, and many on the football team wanted to take a look at their new teammate. Some got permission from their teachers to leave class a bit early to witness for themselves what the buzz was all about.
Danny Beckwith was one of those players who watched firsthand. He wanted to see what he was going up against come spring ball. After all, Beckwith was supposed to be next in line to be the starting quarterback.
Beckwith kept an open mind but still was mindful about the sudden quarterback competition, something he clearly had not anticipated.
Thoughts started running through Beckwith’s mind as he watched from a distance. He had a lot of fun playing wide receiver last season but was adamant about his strong desire to be the quarterback his senior year.
“When I went out there I thought, `I could take this guy out,’ ” Beckwith said. “But then he started practicing with us. He was a lot better, and I realized it was a better fit for him to throw to me. He was as good as Matt (Schilz), if not better.”
There was Keith, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound pro-style quarterback, practically auditioning in front of his new teammates at his third school in four years.
Keith’s checkered past was not widely known until a lengthy report appeared last year in the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, painting Cody’s father, Greg, as an over-the-top father who pushed for Cody to become a starting quarterback.
While Greg Keith went to great lengths to abide by the state’s high school sports governing body’s rules, he also said his family was targeted and ridiculed for its decision.
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