Santa Ynez High’s standout wide receiver makes college choice on early signing day

By Mike Chaldu

Wednesday, Dec. 20, was a big day for many senior high-school football players — the beginning of the early signing period, when those players decide what university they will attend and continue their college football career.

One of those players was Santa Ynez High’s star wide receiver Daulton Beard, who confirmed he will be heading up to the Northwest to play for Portland State.

“I’d like to thank my family, my brothers over here, my teammates, the coaching staff here at Santa Ynez, and the coaching staff at Portland State for giving me this opportunity,” Beard said before putting his name on the dotted line of the National Letter of Intent.

Beard also was impressed after his talks with coaches and players with the program.

A poster announcing Daulton Beard’s commitment to Portland State is shown Dec. 20 at the Santa Ynez High player’s college signing ceremony. Photo by Mike Chaldu/SYVS

“I got to talk to the wide receivers coach [Bryant Thomas], who was the one who gave me the scholarship offer,” he said. “He talked a lot about how he would use me as a receiver, and I liked what he had for me.”

“I met the team and it was really nice, and I just saw myself as a fit there,” he said. “There was some really good vibes with the players and coaches there.”

The 6-foot-5, 200-lb. wideout was an offensive force during his three years with the Pirates varsity, earning first-time All-Mountain League honors in 2022 and 2023.

In his junior season of 2022, he had 77 receptions for 1,272 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

He followed that up in 2023, with 37 catches for 714 yards and 9 touchdowns. Memorable moments in his senior season included throwing a 75-yard touchdown on a trick play in a Week 3 win over Santa Maria, and catching a 34-yard touchdown pass with just 1.2 seconds left in the game to give the Pirates a 31-28 win over Righetti at Homecoming.

Unfortunately, Beard’s 2023 campaign was cut short in Week 9 when he suffered a torn ACL in Santa Ynez’s game against Arroyo Grande. After having surgery, he will continue to rehab his knee while redshirting this fall for the Vikings.

Santa Ynez head coach Josh McClurg, who called Beard one of the best players in school history while opening the signing ceremony, expounded on his value this past season.

“He’s like a quarterback security blanket, especially with us having a young quarterback, Jude Pritchard, this year,” McClurg said. “It helped him, knowing that he always had Daulton to go to, to jump up out of the sky and grab the ball.”

Santa Ynez High football player Daulton Beard (right) poses with his mother, Stacy, on Dec. 20 after he signed his National Letter of Intent to play college football for Portland State University. Photo by Mike Chaldu/SYVS

Meanwhile, another person who has traveled the road with Daulton is his mother, Stacy Beard, who was on hand for the signing ceremony.

“I’m really proud of him; he had a lot of challenges, especially now with the injury,” she said. “But it all ended up as it should, it was meant to be.”

And now, Stacy Beard is looking forward to making some trips to Portland to see her son in action.

“I’m already getting some frequent flyer miles on the credit card,” she said.

Portland State is a longtime member of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly I-AA) and the Big Sky Conference.

Coach Bruce Barnum’s Vikings finished 5-6 overall in 2023 with a 4-4 mark in the Big Sky, tying for sixth in the 12-team conference.

Barnum’s teams have been known to have high-powered offenses, and the Vikings averaged 33.8 points a game this past season, and 53.8 ppg in their five wins.

Portland State plays in the same conference as Cal Poly, the closest Division I program to the Santa Ynez Valley, and the Vikings are scheduled to play in San Luis Obispo during the 2025 season. 

Santa Ynez High’s Daulton Beard is shown in action during the Pirates’ game against Santa Maria this past season. Photo by Mike Chaldu/SYVS