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Since the Missouri Tigers' future star wide receiver, Dorial Green-Beckham, already has an NFL body (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) and he's already drawing comparisons to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, it's no surprise that the recruitment process started a long time ago. In fact, the first scholarship offers rolled in from Mizzou, Arkansas and Oklahoma after Green-Beckham, better known as DGB, wrapped up his freshman year at Hillcrest High School, where his adoptive father, John Beckham was the head coach.
By the time DGB finished his high school football career, he had the racked up 6,353 yards receiving and scored 75 touchdowns. He was Rivals' top recruit on their top-100 list and had turned the heads of the biggest football schools in the country. Part of his decision to play for the Tigers was staying in Missouri and being close to his home and the people who supported him, but that wasn't the only thing.
According to FOX Sports' Thayer Evans, other schools, especially Arkansas, had a leg up on recruiting DGB from the very beginning.
The first major college football game that Green-Beckham attended was at the University of Arkansas when the Razorbacks played the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama won the game in the end but DGB was caught up in the energy and pageantry of Arkansas football, right down to the skydivers that swooped onto the field before the game.
"The atmosphere," John Beckham said, "was unbelievable."
A month later, the Beckham's were set to go to a Sooners game, but on the way they had oil-pressure problems in the family van and barely made it to kickoff, missing their chance to talk to head coach Bob Stoops before the game started. Oklahoma hosted a struggling Colorado team and the atmosphere was completely different.
"It was nothing compared to what Dorial had just experienced a few weeks prior atmosphere-wise," John Beckham said. "It was just the luck of how the schedule played out."
Later, Arkansas reaffirmed their commitment to DGB by offering a scholarship to his half brother, Darnell. They didn't even revoke the scholarship offer when it was discovered that Darnell had leukemia.
After that, Dorial and his father took a trip to Alabama where they met former Crimson Tide receiver, and first-round pick, Julio Jones. They played a game of pool with Jones in the player's lounge while analysts were discussing Jones' NFL future on a TV in the background.
According to Dorial's father, the trip to Alabama was the first legitimate contender to convince the talented receiver that their school was the best fit for him other than Arkansas.
"He was really high on Alabama," John Beckham said. "He was psyched about it."
The family also traveled to Texas to meet Longhorns head coach Mack Brown, who also impressed them and made Dorial feel that he could be trusted. According to his father, that's what kept Texas in the hunt for DGB for as long as they were.
Dorial and his family didn't talk much about the recruiting process along the way. That was until they made their official visit to Missouri. After hearing the student body chant "MIZ-DGB" over and over again and after they cheered when they waived at him, and after he was served fried sushi, his favorite food, and after they offered a scholarship to his half-brother and said that it stood regardless of what Dorial's decision was, he was ready to talk about his college career.
He asked a family member to buy a retro, snap-back Missouri hat for him before National Signing Day. That was the hat he put on in front of a live TV audience in his high school gymnasium to announce he would be showcasing his talents in a Tigers uniform.
His recruitment started four years earlier and took him all throughout the SEC and Big 12 area, but in the end, he stayed home.
"I felt like it was the place for me," said Dorial, 18, who has been compared to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. "Just to stay home and to have all these people come out here and watch me play."
Dorial Green-Beckham set high school single season and career records for receiving yardage, earning over 6,000 receiving yards in his career. That’s an unbelievable number. And that’s why he’s earning the lion’s share of attention when it comes to Missouri’s recruiting class of 2012 yesterday from National Signing Day. However, he’s not the only one.
Maty Mauk was the record-setting quarterback that Gary Pinkel landed this year as well, meaning that the most prolific high school passer in history was just teamed officially with the most prolific high school receiver in history. Tom Lemming says it was possibly discussed between the two before the actual signing day occurred.
“Mike Mauk, Maty’s coach and father, added fuel to the fire when he told MaxPreps, “There’s a good chance that will happen. They met last summer and got along well. They would make each other better. They’ve communicated (this fall). We want him (Green-Beckham) to make the decision that’s right for him. Missouri is moving to the SEC and they’ve got good talent there.’”
Aaron Schafer writes about the same and says the results could be dynamic, although it might not happen for a while with James Franklin at the helm at quarterback to go along with Corbin Berkstresser.
“There’s another potential wrinkle here, one that could have some rather remarkable repercussions in the near future,” writes Schafer of the Riverfront Times. "Last autumn, the Tigers received a commitment from Maty Mauk, the top player in the state of Ohio and a quarterback of record-setting pedigree. Mauk holds national high school records for passing attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns. He played his high school ball in a wide-open spread offense, sort of an idealized version of what Mizzou has run the past handful of years.
“So the Tigers have Maty Mauk, holder of most meaningful high school career passing records, and Dorial Green-Beckham, owner of the all-time receiving yards record,” he continues. “DGB will start immediately, while Mauk will hit the sidelines and wait for an opportunity to present itself. Still, it’s very possible in the next couple of years the Missouri Tigers could have the most prolific passer and the most prolific pass catcher in high school football history teaming up on the same field.”
The Missouri Tigers pulled in several strong talents yesterday, the primary one receiving the attention being the best wide receiver talent to come along in a while in Dorial Green-Beckham. So while others were also worthy of receiving the spotlight — such as the 26th ranked safety in the country like Ka’Ra Stewart — even he had to admit being a part of DGB’s class was something meaningful.
“It’s definitely special,” said Stewart, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior who was a strong two-way player for the Panthers last fall. “I saw a few of his highlights, that was about it —but I like what I saw. It definitely helps knowing there’s a lot of good players in our class.”
From the Bellville News-Democrat, “Stewart had 35 tackles, three sacks, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions as a Belleville News-Democrat All-Area linebacker last fall. He had two kickoff returns for touchdowns and also returned a fumble for another score, getting enough time on offense to average nearly 10.5 yards per carry (428 yards and five TDs).”
Stewart teams with Chaston Cuffee and John Gibson to give the Tigers a lot of youth in the defensive backfield.
Missouri made the biggest splash on National Signing Day when the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Dorial Green-Beckham, signed a letter of intent to be a Tiger. What about the rest of the 2012 recruiting class for Missouri?
Gary Pinkel's first recruiting class as he enters the SEC is a decent one marked by two stars that really help to anchor the class. ESPN gives the team a B- for its efforts on National Signing Day, but it's clear the positive vibes center around wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and offensive guard Evan Boehm. Other than that, it's clear that Missouri lost out on a couple of key players and that it's light in terms of talent along the lines for the most part.
ESPN's scouting report reads, "The Tigers have taken advantage of a great crop of in-state talent, along with being active in Texas. The majority of the top prospects in this class hail from either the Show Me State or the Lone Star State. While Green-Beckham is a major signing, ESPNU 150 offensive guard Evan Boehm (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) is an instrumental prospect in this class as well. The No. 2 guard in the country helps reload up front and should help improve the Tigers' rushing attack.
"Four-star quarterback Maty Mauk (Kenton, Ohio/ Kenton) might not have ideal overall measurables, but he has some real intangibles. Four-star inside linebacker Donavin Newsom (St. Louis/Parkway North) marks another key in-state get for Missouri. It is a linebacker-heavy class for the Tigers as they head into the SEC, but a class that has some skill talent as well."
The Big 12 flexed its recruiting muscles yesterday and they have two top ten classes to show for it as the national rankings are coming out from services like ESPN, SB Nation, Rivals and others. The top dogs, Texas and Oklahoma, are ranked No. 2 and 9 nationally and represent the best of the confernece.
Alabama has the best overall recruiting class, although Scout.com gave the Texas Longhorns their No. 1 rated class overall with 28 commits. Florida, Ohio State and Florida State rounds out the rest of the lot. Here's the complete national rankings:
The Missouri Tigers made a big statement on Wednesday morning by securing a National Letter of Intent from the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Dorial-Green Beckham. But Missouri also officially signed 18 other players on Wednesday.
Here’s a full list of the 2012 recruiting class for Missouri:
OL Evan Boehm: 6-3, 290, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
LB Torey Boozer: 6-3, 210, Everman, Texas
DL Harold Brantley: 6-2, 260, Hershey, Pa.
WR Levi Copelin: 6-2, 170, Broken Arrow, Okla.
DB Chaston Cuffee: 6-1, 185, Cleburne, Texas
TE Sean Culkin: 6-5, 226, Largo, Fla.
DB John Gibson: 5-10, 175, Missouri City, Texas
LB Markus Golden: 6-3, 240, St. Louis, Mo.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham: 6-6, 220, Springfield, Mo.
RB Russell Hansbrough: 5-8, 173, Arlington, Texas
DL Rickey Hatley: 6-4, 245, Atlanta, Texas
QB Maty Mauk: 6-2, 185, Kenton, Ohio
LB Donavin Newsome: 6-2, 220, St. Louis, Mo.
LB Michael Scherer: 6-2, 230, St. Louis, Mo.
RB Morgan Steward: 5-11, 182, Kansas City, Mo.
DB Ka’Ra Stewart: 5-10, 190, O’Fallon, Ill.
WR Darius White: 6-3, 200, Fort Worth, Texas
OL Jordan Williams: 6-4, 250, Denton, Texas
DL Evan Winston: 6-3, 260, Muskegon Heights, Mich.
First there was Edmund Ray. Now it’s Aaron Curry. This is not a good trend for Missouri football today.
Of course, every year there are kids who change their mind at the last second or who were never fully committed in the first place who don’t come through in the end. However, Missouri has lost two guys along the defensive line at this point and that has to be a bit disheartening for Gary Pinkel and his staff.
Aaron Curry is the latest to commit elsewhere and the talented defensive lineman will be taking his skills to Nebraska to play in the Big Ten rather than joining the SEC. Ray already switched his commit from Missouri to Texas A&M so this makes two up-front guys who are gone.
As Dave Matter notes, “Curry, a defensive lineman from Keller, Texas, signed with Nebraska after also considering Missouri and Iowa. Decisions by Ray and Curry could leave the Tigers’ class short on defensive linemen, particularly players able to play the interior positions.”
The 2012 recruiting class for the Missouri Tigers will have one name listed that they’ll have to wait for. Darius White will likely be worth the wait, however. The Texas wide receiver announced earlier that he would transfer to Missouri to join Gary Pinkel and the team’s move to the SEC. However, Pinkel now says that White will be listed on this year’s recruit list which certainly bolsters the overall effect given how much White was sought after by other elite schools.
White hasn’t done much in his first two seasons as a Texas Longhorn, but he definitely has the ability. Terez Paylor gets the story:
White, who told the site that he already has a relationship with several current Tigers from the state of Texas (including Kip Edwards and James Franklin), will sit out the 2012 season and have two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2013.
White, who stands 6-feet-3 and weighs 200 pounds, was a highly recruited prospect out of Dunbar, Tex., a few years ago. According to Rivals.com, he had offers from several top programs, including Auburn, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, Notre Dame and USC.
The Missouri Tigers are reeling a bit from the loss of one of the their commits earlier today when the reports came out that Texas A&M actually won the battle to keep the star recruit in state rather than lose him to the other Big 12 team jumping to the SEC. Edmund Ray was a great defensive end/defensive tackle prospect that Pinkel had supposedly secured, but today is National Signing Day for that reason — players haven’t completely committed or even made up their mind yet. That fax is the golden ticket.
Tom Lemming says, “He plays both DE and DT but looks more comfortable inside where he can use his strength to his great advantage. Dominates the point of attack, shows enough quickness and body control to pressure the QB, and is able to keep his feet under him and make tackles when in pursuit. A four-star player with five-star potential.”
Texas A&M certainly picked up a nice bonus there.
Gary Pinkel is still reaching into the heart of Texas for much of this year’s class as he has in years past (approximately 36 percent of each recruiting class over last four years has come from Texas), but he’s also landing in-state talent. Donavin Newsom is the latest, a linebacker from St. Louis that helps bring strong athleticism to the team.
Newsom is the No. 6 prospect in the state of Missouri and the No. 12 linebacker prospect. He chose Missouri over Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Tennessee, Iowa, Wake Forest, Indiana, Minnesota, and Illinois.
From the We Are Mizzou blog, “Served as team captain during his senior season as a standout on both sides of the ball for Parkway North … Ran for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns as a senior, and on defense ran one interception back 102 yards for a touchdown to set a school record for longest interception return … Was his team’s MVP as a junior when he made 62 tackles and had 5 sacks and 2 interceptions on defense, while he rushed for 396 yards and 10 touchdowns, and added 153 yards receiving … Was selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-America Game in December at Cowboys Stadium.”
Today is National Signing Day so there’s going to be a slew of updates on players who could have signed that didn’t and players who end up switching over. In the midst of it all, Gary Pinkel hopes that players follow through on the commits they’ve already given via the archaic fax machine.
Evan Winston is the latest Mizzou recruit to send in his fax, a big 6-4 defensive tackle from Muskegon, Michigan that gives Pinkel a strong recruit in the defensive interior. From the We Are Mizzou Blog:
A versatile talent who projects at multiple defensive line spots at the collegiate level … Plays with power and has shown a good knack for shedding blocks to be effective against both the run and pass … Rivals ranks him as the No. 18 overall prospect at any position in the state of Michigan for 2012 … ESPN has him as the nation’s No. 73 defensive tackle prospect … Named to the Detroit News Dream Team as a senior, and also took home 1st-Team All-State and 1st-Team All-Area honors in 2011 … Made 88 tackles as a senior, including 22 tackles for loss and 10 sacks while forcing 5 fumbles along the way … Had 93 tackles during his junior season, with 11 of them going for sacks … Three-sport letterwinner, who also excelled in basketball and track for his school … High school coach – Tony Blankenship … Parents – Steven & Kathy Winston … Enjoys working out, fishing and playing basketball in his spare time away from football … Plans to major in nursing at Mizzou … Chose Mizzou over Arkansas, Michigan State, Kansas State, Iowa, Illinois, Cincinnati, Louisville and Houston, among others … Lists the stability of Mizzou’s coaching staff, as well as the overall family atmosphere around the program as major factors that drew him to MU.
As if recruiting top-level high school football players isn't hard enough, switching from one conference to another, especially one as elite as the SEC, can complicate things. The University of Missouri Tigers made the jump from the Big12 to the SEC where they now have to compete with Florida, Georgia, LSU and Alabama as well as a handful of other great programs. In order to make that jump successfully, Missouri needs to change the way they recruit players. They can't sit back and grab players from their own state and the surrounding area. If they want to be legitimate in college football's most elite conference, they need to recruit players from SEC country.
Former Arkansas head coach Jack Crowe made the jump to the SEC when Arkansas did in 1992 and he knows what Missouri has to do.
"From a coaching standpoint, you've just got to eliminate the mystery of it, and you've got to say you're going to get right in the middle of them," said Crowe, who resigned one game into the 1992 season and is now the coach at Jacksonville State. "People who don't and think they're going to go down there and compete with players from other parts of the country, good luck. ... You better get some Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina players.
"Football is football. Don't spend your time proving you can match what they have in the SEC. If you're going to be in the SEC, you better be in the SEC. You better join the brotherhood. Don't be trying to sit on the fringe and equal it, because - good luck - you won't. That's no insult to anybody, but that's just the truth. It's the best there is."
Scout.com recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman says that Missouri has done a good job at recruiting from SEC states but not a great job. He says that compared to states like Alabama, Florida and Georgia, Missouri lacks depth and they'll have to force their way into those states if they want to be competitive.
"If they want to compete at an elite SEC level, they're going to have to recruit those states hard. Right now, Missouri still is somewhat of a foreigner."
The change could eventually help Missouri's recruiting as well. Former South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Sparky Woods was with the team when they made the jump to the SEC in 1992 and he says that belonging to the conference gave the school more "clout" with recruits.
Either way, to compete in the SEC, Missouri will need to bring in talented recruits and some of those recruits will need to come from SEC Country. Right now, Missouri's recruiting class is ranked by Rivals.com at No. 37, which is pretty far behind other SEC schools like Alabama (No. 2), Florida (No. 5), LSU (No. 7) and others, including Kentucky (No. 35). That doesn't discourage some, though.
Former long-time Missouri Tigers coach John Kadlec, still known as "Mr. Mizzou," knows that "recruiting is recruiting" and he has faith that the Tigers will be just fine in the SEC.
"Recruiting is recruiting," said Kadlec, who was inducted into Missouri's Hall of Fame in 1996. "It's not very easy wherever you do it or wherever you go. Although they had a good foothold in Texas and giving that up is kind of tough.
"I don't think (the SEC transition) will be a big hurdle for Missouri. I think they will do a good job. ... They know how to do it. I think they'll do well."
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