Beathard brothers will each make mark on Kinnick

Mark Emmert

IOWA CITY, Ia. — C.J. Beathard has become used to being the headliner on Saturdays at Kinnick Stadium as quarterback of the Iowa football team.

But he may be sharing that limelight with his younger brother and rising country music star, Tucker, on Aug. 27.

“It just depends on, I guess, what coaches say and what I’m feeling that day,” C.J. Beathard said Wednesday when asked whether he’d join his brother on stage during the first concert in Kinnick history. “I wouldn’t want to sing or do anything like that. I’d tell them to turn my mic off or something, but I think it would be fun to go up there for a song with him.”

C.J. Beathard said he wants to improve on deep passes in his senior year as Iowa's quarterback.

Tucker Beathard, 21, turned to music after turning down a scholarship offer to play baseball at Middle Tennessee State. He has released his first single, “Rock On,” and it reached No. 29 on the country charts. He is going to be an opening act for Blake Shelton that Saturday evening at Kinnick.

C.J.’s Hawkeyes will take over the next Saturday when the football season opens with a game against Miami of Ohio.

The Beathards’ father, Casey, is an accomplished writer of country songs for the likes of Kenny Chesney and Eric Church. He co-wrote Tucker’s first hit, along with childhood friend Marla Cannon-Goodman.

So C.J., 22, is accustomed to hanging out with music stars back in his native Nashville, Tenn. It’s a little different these days, though, now that he’s the starting quarterback for an Iowa team coming off a 12-2 season. C.J. said he was visiting Tucker last week before a concert featuring Dierks Bentley and was startled when the country star congratulated C.J. on his great football season.

“It’s just weird people like that are keeping up with me,” Beathard said.

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Beathard is ready to help his Hawkeyes try to keep up with the rest of the Big Ten Conference again. Coming off shoulder and hip/groin injuries, the senior’s final summer in Iowa City will consist of daily weight-lifting sessions, film work and skills drills with a new crop of receivers. And that’s before training camp opens in August.

One emphasis for Beathard will be improving on deep passes.

His statistics last year were good — 223-of-362 for 2,809 yards, 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Beathard also rushed for another six touchdowns.

But he did so despite dealing with nagging injuries for the final 12 games. Beathard said Wednesday that his shoulder is fully healed and his groin is nearly so. He said he’s been able to be a full participant in workouts with his teammates.

The focus is on finishing stronger than a year ago, when a perfect regular season was followed by a last-second loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and a blowout setback against Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

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“It’s weird to think about, it’s the last time summer conditioning (in Iowa City),” Beathard said. “It makes you think. You want to make sure you empty the tank.

“I’d be cheating myself if I was saying I was only going to work on ‘this’ this offseason. I’m going to try to improve everything that’s possible for me to improve on.”

What he’s not thinking about, Beathard said, is the NFL draft. He’s already being mentioned as potentially being a top quarterback option for pro teams in April.

“I’ve heard about it, seen it places, but I haven’t paid attention to any of that kind of stuff,” Beathard said. “All that stuff can change and it’s just predictions right now and I’m focused on this season and having a successful season as a Hawkeye.”

Rock on.