This was not where Dorial Green-Beckham was supposed to be going into his sophomore season. The young receiver from Springfield, Mo. was widely hailed as the top football prospect in the country, and many believed that his addition alone would immediately make Missouri a legitimate contender in the SEC. Unfortunately for both Mizzou and Green-Beckham, that could not be further from the truth.
Green-Beckham seemingly has all the tools to become one of the best receivers in the history of college football. Coming out of high school, he was 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds with a 4.43 40-yard dash, and a rather impressive 3.1 GPA to boot. His highlight tape was filled with him jumping over hopeless defensive backs and jogging to the end zone for easy touchdowns. Though Rivals.com compared him to the Houston Texans‘ Andre Johnson, his intangibles are much more reminiscent of the Detroit Lions‘ Calvin Johnson.
Once “DGB” got to Mizzou, though, things seemed to go south. He seemed to impress during summer workouts, but he could not crack the starting lineup for opening day and only saw limited action to begin the year. His troubles culminated with his arrest in early October for marijuana possession in a campus parking lot. He was suspended for the following game versus Vanderbilt, and also did not see any action in the next game against Alabama.
Green-Beckham began to show more promise down the stretch, namely in Mizzou’s loss to Florida in which he had six catches for 73 yards, but he never came even close to being the player that many prognosticators felt he would be immediately. He finished fourth in receiving yards for Mizzou, catching 28 passes for 395 yards and a team-leading five receiving touchdowns.
What has Missouri fans up in arms as the team prepares to begin training camp is that Green-Beckham is still listed second at the X-receiver spot on Mizzou’s pre-camp depth chart. The projected starters are Marcus Lucas, Bud Sasser and L’Damian Washington, so DGB isn’t exactly yielding time to any All-Americans. He still has the rest of the summer to earn a starting job, but it is understandable why supporters are alarmed that the former top recruit hasn’t even been able to establish himself among the team’s existing receiving corps yet.
Sources at Missouri believe that Green-Beckham has major maturity issues that need to be taken care of, as was evidenced by his arrest last year. Though we certainly had an idea that that may be an issue following the press around his commitment — Green-Beckham’s way of telling his adoptive mother that he had made a decision was by ordering her, “mom, go buy me a snapback” — it’s still mildly surprising that a player with as solid of a high school academic record as DGB had would make such unintelligent decisions.
It would be logical to assume that part of the reason that Green-Beckham was not always on the field last year was that he didn’t know all the plays. Mizzou has shown that they will not rely on players who don’t know the system, as they rarely used 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver Rolandis Woodland, who some scouts had said was better than Mizzou’s Jeremy Maclin, apparently due to the fact that he couldn’t grasp the system. If DGB wants to be a full-time player, he needs to know what he’s supposed to do all the time.
As a player that has such great physical tools and has already drawn comparisons to elite NFL receivers, Green-Beckham has a duty to be one of the key players on Mizzou’s 2013 roster. Another season of poor performance is likely to cost head coach Gary Pinkel his job, which could put DGB’s status in jeopardy. If nothing else, Green-Beckham should be motivated by his ever-falling NFL draft stock.
It would be incredibly disappointing if DGB’s college production was not enough to even earn him a spot in the first round. If he stays at the same developmental pace, he could end up as one of college football’s biggest wastes of talent rather than being one of the best receivers ever.