COLUMBIA — As fans lined up outside Memorial Stadium on Saturday for Missouri Football Fan Day, reporters on Faurot Field gathered around freshman wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
The 6-foot-6 wide receiver stood on the field's brand new artificial turf surface, wearing the new white jersey and pants that are part of the uniforms the Tigers will introduce this season.
The media attention for Green-Beckham was expected because the nation's top recruit has drawn comparisons to past highly recruited receivers A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and Calvin Johnson, who are all having success in the NFL.
Expectations for Green-Beckham are high, and he says his own are even higher. He says he wants to do better than he did in high school, where he caught 119 passes for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns in his senior year alone.
As of right now, Green-Beckham is still just trying to settle in at practice. He has struggled a bit while playing with the third team during 11-on-11 drills, dropping several passes in the first few days of training camp.
He is already seeing how much more difficult it will be to play against NCAA Division 1 athletes. He said that the speed of the game in high school is a little bit slower than in college.
"Well not a little bit slower, a lot slower," Green-Beckham said.
Not only are the players faster at the college level, the passes coming at Green-Beckham are thrown harder and faster as well. The change of speed combined with the challenge of learning a new playbook have made the transition difficult so far. But he already sees himself making progress.
"Each day I learn something different, so that the next day I've got it down," he said. "But we've still got a lot of things to work on."
Learning formations during training camp is one of those things. In addition, Green-Beckham says he is still learning the nuances of individual routes. He says he has to take time outside of practice to study the playbook and prepare for practice.
"What he's doing is he's getting down the system and everything and running routes," said David Yost, Missouri's offensive coordinator. "And now it's getting to fine tune those routes so he can use his athleticism and his skill to get himself open."
Green-Beckham says the older receivers let him know when he does something wrong.
"They just help me out a lot, remembering the easy stuff," Green-Beckham said. "So when I'm out there they will be like, 'Remember that if they (the defensive backs) are pressing or they are sagging off then you've got to bend it, or you've got to curl it, or you've got to hitch it underneath."
Green-Beckham said he hopes to work his way up the depth chart before the season, but does not necessarily expect to start because of the team's deep receiving corps.
"I see myself getting in and rotating a whole lot," Green-Beckham said. "Whenever we get tired and stuff like that, there is going to be fresh legs."