Aiden Beadles enjoys wrapping his arms around and embracing opposing football players.
Over the last three years, the South Putnam High senior linebacker has shown plenty of compassion by recording nearly 500 tackles, including more than 200 stops in 2023.
Although he has received his fair share of recognition and accolades by being a three-time Indiana Football Coaches' Class 1A all-state and all-Western Indiana Conference selection, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound standout remains very blessed and grateful.
"The area that I grew in the most would have to be my humility," recalled Beadles, who also tallied 39 tackles for losses, 10 quarterback sacks, and two fumble recoveries this past fall. "It is fun to win the game and get the stats, but it is how you react with your success. I made it a point to never let my success inflate my ego. I always kept myself humble and ready for the next play."
This unselfish attitude is just one of the reasons why Beadles was selected as the Indianapolis Colts High School Man of the Year.
The award, presented by Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, recognizes an outstanding Indiana high school football player who exemplifies character, leadership, and teamwork on and off the field.
In addition to his accomplishments on the gridiron for the Eagles (9-2), he has also had success on the wrestling mat in the 220-pound weight class as well as in throwing the shot put and discus for the track and field team.
"Aiden is one of the most decorated students at South Putnam," said South Putnam head football coach Chuck Sorrell. "He is involved in so many activities, but still manages to help the younger students in the weight room and on the football field. He is very compassionate and one of the best people you will ever meet."
Beadles shares the same mutual respect for his football boss.
"The biggest influence in my career has been Coach Sorrell," explained Beadles. "He has given me confidence and a work ethic that has helped make me successful. His leadership has helped me to become a leader in not only my athletics, but also my community and job."
What makes Aiden's success on the playing field even more impressive is the fact he does it while also managing his diabetes.
"Football has taught me to be tough and never give up," Beadles said. "I have had my fair share of setbacks throughout my football career and I've learned that it is how you react to setbacks and what steps you take to overcome them that make you tough. I will be able to take these learned skills into my life and they will help me to be successful."
Ranked in the top 10 percent with a 4.2 grade-point average and president of his senior class, Aiden is a member of the National Honor Society, involved in South Putnam's FFA (Future Farmers of America), and also shows sheep for 4-H.
He is also very active in the community volunteering for various activities, doing service events through student council, and serving as a member of the Youth Philanthropy Committee, a youth-oriented committee in his local community foundation.
Interested in studying pre-law in college, some of the places he is interested in attending include Indiana State, the University of Indianapolis, Wabash College, and the Air Force or Naval Academies.
"I am excited to start college," Beadles said. "Moving into this new chapter of my life is exciting because I will be able to meet new people and start my journey to beginning my career."
The Colts will recognize Beadles with a $2,500 donation to the non-profit or community group of his choice.