Preseason Senior Spotlight: Josh Bellamy

By Ira Green for Inside the Huddle

With the conclusion of practice, it’s natural for players to quickly exit the fields, especially on a warm day. Oftentimes, players leave in herds with their position groups. Occasionally, one of the athletes might catch up with their respective position coach to review a play that took place during practice. More often than not, though, there are stragglers who consistently seem to be the last ones off the field.

Oftentimes, one of those stragglers is Josh Bellamy. Ignore the first thought that jumps into your head – no, it’s not because he’s in trouble. No, it’s not because of his speed – he certainly possesses quite a bit of it; ask any of the defensive backs he torched last year. However, if you talked to the senior about his past, being late certainly seems to be a characteristic of his – rather his past.

Coming out of Boca Ciega High in Florida, Bellamy was a three-star prospect with a handful of offers from competitive Division I schools. He certainly was equipped with the intangibles, according to Rivals – a 4.41 time in the 40, a bench max of 245 pounds, a squat max of 320 pounds and a more-than-impressive 33-inch vertical. A two-way player, Bellamy excelled as a running back and as a defensive back. In one season, he recorded 900 yards on the ground and made more than 70 stops as a junior on defense.

Despite all of the accomplishments, he was forced to take the junior college route due to academics.

In a roundabout way, the St. Petersburg, Fla., native landed at Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif., with the opportunity to play immediately. Bellamy spent two seasons with the Roadrunners, catching 80 passes for 1,307 yards and a school all-time record 17 touchdowns.

Back on track, Bellamy felt the detour was more of a learning process and a reason to change his habits.

“I just try not procrastinating on stuff,” Bellamy says on changing his habits. “I’m trying to do everything on time and be more of a grown-up instead of being young-minded about everything.”

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to speak with the imposing 6-foot, 206 pound receiver, he sounds anything but young-minded – more like a determined individual whose got his sights set. Bellamy, though, is quick to credit his predecessors for the change in demeanor.

“We had a lot of good players last year,” Bellamy recalls. “Just coming in, I was kind of like a freshman, so I was learning how the system worked. Doug Beaumont, Troy Pascley and Brandon Heath took me under their wings. I spent a lot of time with them – it was good.”

With the graduation of starters Doug Beaumont, Cameron Graham and Bilal Powell, a new group of faces is expected to lead the offense in 2011. Along with Victor Anderson, Jeremy Wright, Josh Chichester and Andrell Smith, Bellamy is expected to be one of the team’s top targets. But he also knows that his job as one of the upperclassmen is to help mentor the newcomers and give the Cardinals’ more threats on the offensive side of the ball.

“I’m more of a leader this year,” Bellamy, who finished 2010 with 29 catches, 401 yards and 14 touchdowns, says. “I’m trying to take the young guys under my wing. I watched Doug, and I’m trying to take his role and do what he and the other guys did for me last year.”

With the program’s first bowl victory since 2007, a 24-13 win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl, the pressure is on for the Cardinals’ to maintain the success.

Don’t expect Bellamy, though, to rest the team’s laurels from a season ago. Instead, he leapt out of character and quickly responded to looking ahead.

“Our goals are just to be better than we were last year,” Bellamy says. “Come out and go hard every day, and it’ll transfer over into the games.”

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