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."