A four-year starter and three-time all-conference selection at Utah from 2006-09, Beadles was named a first-team All-American as a senior in 2009 before being drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos. A four-year starter at Denver since his rookie season, Beadles is now with Jacksonville after signing a free agent contract last March.
A second-team Academic All-American in 2009, when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Beadles credited both his athletic and academic experience at Utah as the reason for his generous donation.
“This is something I’ve known I wanted to do ever since I left school,” said Beadles. “The University of Utah was such a great place for me. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the University of Utah. I am excited to pledge this money to the U. and give back to the place that helped shape me into the man I am today. I’d like to thank all of the professors, coaches and support staff at the University of Utah. It was a great four and a half years of my life and I’ll always be a Ute!”
Beadles’ NFL career has mirrored his Utah career in many ways. He played in 51 games (missing one game with injury) and started in 50 from 2006-09 while helping Utah to 40 wins and four bowl victories. In the NFL, he played in all 64 games in his four seasons at Denver with 62 starts. He was named to The Sporting News’ All-Rookie Team in 2010 and made the Pro Bowl in 2012. His last game with the Broncos was at the 2014 Super Bowl.
“Zane Beadles makes a difference in everything he undertakes—academically, athletically and in the community—so I was not surprised that he wanted to give back to his alma mater and his football team,” said Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. “That is the kind of person Zane Beadles is and we are thrilled he has chosen to continue to impact the University of Utah in a positive manner with his gift to our program.”
“We are very thankful to Zane for his generous donation,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “Zane was an outstanding student-athlete and community member during his time here and is another in a long line of former players to give back to our University. He is a great source of pride to all of us at Utah and we are appreciative of his loyalty and generosity.”
Beadles’ gift is one of several major gifts by high profile former Utah student-athletes in recent years. Alex Smith ($500,000), Jordan Gross ($500,000), Steve Smith ($400,000) and Paul Soliai ($250,000) have all made major donations to the football program, while Andre Miller ($500,000) and Andrew Bogut ($125,000) made large gifts to the men’s basketball program.