"The big thing about him, he worked hard in the offseason to make himself better and make himself stronger and faster," Albano said.
And he did it all after being diagnosed with diabetes last winter.
Beard learned to regulate the disease as a reserve for the boys basketball team last spring, and he said it only really caused a problem once all season. Anderson played a Saturday afternoon game at New Castle on Sept. 28, and the change in his routine threw Beard's blood-sugar levels off.
He left that game just before halftime and later said he was running without his usual energy. It made little difference as the Indians rolled to a 49-7 win.
He made no other concessions to his condition, and in fact is working harder on his body than ever before. After attending a camp last summer, Beard noticed how much stronger players who focused on football year round seemed to be.
So he made a decision to forgo his senior season on the basketball court and hit the weights instead this winter. He's working out twice a day every day and getting into the best football shape of his life.
Beard can squat 595 pounds 10 times, as good a testament as any to his strength.
Colleges are taking notice with interest rolling in from Ball State, Bowling Green and Cincinnati. He's also drawn strong attention from Div. II schools Indianapolis and Finlay, though no offers have yet been made.
Albano believes Beard's future lies on defense. But the player is keeping all of his options open.
"I'm just gonna go in as an athlete," he said. "I'll play anywhere they want me to play."
Athletes of the Year Anderson's Jerian Beard is the eighth of nine fall athletes to be honored as the best in their sport by The Herald Bulletin. The ninth and final athlete will be revealed in Thursday's edition. For stories on the previous award winners, visit theheraldbulletin.com Defensive Football Honor Roll Quin Alverson, Pendleton Heights; Zach Amos, Anderson; Jim Arney, Pendleton Heights; Gage Brown, Elwood; Derek Bryant, Elwood; Cody Cochran, Pendleton Heights; Ryan French, Elwood; Evan Hodges, Alexandria; Mason Hoke, Alexandria; Rome Kayzer, Anderson; London Leavell, Elwood; Stephen Marshall, Shenandoah; Bryce Montgomery, Alexandria; Bobby Pierce, Shenandoah; Curt Presnall, Madison-Grant; Austin Purkey, Madison-Grant; Cody Rudy, Shenandoah; Jacob Thurston, Alexandria; Colton Waymire, Frankton; Bryant White, Anderson; Lane Young, Shenandoah