Jack Bech isn’t done yet.
After only one season as a full-time starter at St. Thomas More, Bech already ranks third in yards receiving in school history.
As a junior, the Vanderbilt commitment caught 91 passes for 1,668 yards and 20 touchdowns in helping the Cougars finish 11-2 along with the Division II state championship.
“I don’t think Jack is done,” STM offensive coordinator Shane Savoie said. “I think there needs to be another growth spurt this season, not only as a wide receiver but as a leader. And then in other areas where he can help our team.”
Savoie says fans have come to STM games just to watch Bech.
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“He’s obviously done things on the field that have set him apart,” Savoie said. “People have come to games to see him play. The state championship game was an example of that.
“It’s not often when a kid can take over a game, and I think anybody who walked away from the field at the state championship game knew that Jack Bech was the best player on the field that night. It’s created expectations, I think, for him, but I think that’s the beauty of this place: those expectations are always there.”
Although it may appear Bech suddenly burst on the scene last year, that’s not the case.
“Where Jack is at now — it’s not like some fly by night where it just happened,” Savoie said. “It’s the process of a lot of work to get him to that. Obviously, there’s some God-given ability that he originally had to start with. But a lot of guys have those abilities and they never come to fruition because they never work at it.
“He works in the weight room. He works in the study room when we study film and go over his craft, and he works on the practice field. I felt like it was at the end of last summer’s 7-on-7s when he really started to figure out the position. And then as the season went on week-by-week, you started to see a growth spurt because he started to learn the position. Then I haven’t seen him stop growing with his toolbox as a receiver.”
Bech, who lines up at receiver for the Cougars, recently received a four-star rating from Rivals as a tight end.
“A lot of college coaches tell me that the tight end position isn’t what you thought of it a couple of years back,” Bech said. “It’s now a kid who can play inside and outside receiver and can block really well if he’s inside and needs to block a linebacker.
“It’s not necessarily a ‘hand on the ground tight end,’ but more of a hybrid player who can go in and out, block and is multi-dimensional.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is locked into his commitment with Vanderbilt.
“I fully intend on signing there,” he said. ” I think Vanderbilt is a really good spot for me. I’ll get to play early. The coaches are telling me that they want me to make an impact my freshman year.
“I honestly think that wherever I went, I’d be able to make a name for myself. But I think that having the chance and knowing I would be able to play early there — if I continue to grind and get better — that’s going to be big for me.”
Former STM and current Louisiana Tech receiver Griffin Hebert raved to Bech about Todd Fitch, the current Vanderbilt and ex-Louisiana Tech offensive coordinator.
St. Thomas More senior cornerback Dominic Zepherin said his plans didn’t get very real until after his sophomore season with the Cougars.
“Every time Griffin would come into town, he would go over what they did in their offense, and coach Fitch is bringing the same offense from Tech to Vanderbilt,” Bech said.
Last year, Bech was catching passes from Caleb Holstein, who has graduated and turned over the offensive keys to Walker Howard.
“The chemistry is amazing with Walker,” Bech said. “The time and work we put in together since we were 8 years old — it’s a pretty big amount. He and I are like brothers. We really do everything together. We’re like family and I think our connection is going to keep getting better.”
What does Bech plan to do for an encore of last year?
“I want to do better in everything that I did last season,” he said. “It’s that simple.”