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TIGER KICKOFF: Fans have only seen "glimpse" of Dorial Green-Beckham

Friday, November 16, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 12:32 p.m. CST, Friday, November 16, 2012
The top recruit last year on Rivals.com is a sturdy 6-foot-6-inch, 220 pounds, runs a 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds and is only 19 years old. Dorial Green-Beckham destroyed national records in his four years at Hillcrest High School, amassing more than 6,000 receiving yards and 75 touchdowns. However, he's had a relatively quiet season as a freshman on Missouri's football team.

COLUMBIA — As senior day approaches for the Missouri football team, wide receiver coach Andy Hill reflected on what it's like to see players leave the program.

He compared them to pebbles thrown into a lake.

"They ripple through," Hill said.

Then he spoke of Chase Daniel, Brad Smith and Justin Smith. All three, in Hill's mind, had a tremendous impact on the Missouri program.

They were more like boulders thrown in the lake, he said. They made a "huge difference."

Dorial Green-Beckham has all the makings of a boulder.

The top recruit last year on Rivals.com is a sturdy 6-foot-6-inch 220 pounds, runs a 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds and is only 19 years old. Green-Beckham destroyed national records in his four years at Hillcrest High School, amassing more than 6,000 receiving yards and 75 touchdowns.

He hasn't made his ripple yet at Missouri. Some might have hoped to see more of Green-Beckham by now, but he has had a relatively quiet first season.

The quiet was hard to imagine on Feb. 1. Green-Beckham made a lot of noise. Missouri quarterback James Franklin felt the pressure immediately.

While the coaching staff was jumping for joy at Green-Beckham's commitment to Missouri, Franklin already heard the voices telling him to get the ball to the new weapon.

Franklin couldn't avoid the pressure. It was coming from reporters in the media. It came from people on Twitter. It came from people who approached him in parking lots.

It still hasn't let up, but the quarterback blocked it out as soon as training camp started. For the new receiver, Franklin said, it wasn't so easy.

"No matter how good of a recruit you are, you still have to be ready to play at the college level," Franklin said. "It's not something that anybody can do."

At the beginning of Missouri's training camp, Green-Beckham did not look like a great wide receiver. He looked human, freshman even.

"It's gonna take some time," Hill said. "You don't just show up and it all works out great first game."

Just as most first-year players do, Green-Beckham struggled. He dropped passes daily. He missed blocks on running plays. He had to repeat drills because he did them incorrectly.

He had 119 catches for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior at Hillcrest High School. A week into camp in August, it was already clear he would not approach any of those numbers in his freshman season at Missouri.

Despite his great size and skill, Hill said, Green-Beckham needed time to settle in.

The team saw him progressing, though.

All of Green-Beckham's teammates and coaches spoke well of him throughout camp as the receiver steadily reduced his mistakes and increased his production. Hill saw him learning to study tape. Franklin didn't see him making excuses.

"I don't know what it's like to be the top recruit in the country," Franklin said. "I know there's a lot of pressure that comes with it. What he has done to overcome that is make plays."

In Missouri's second scrimmage, he led the team in receiving. In the third, Green-Beckham glided to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown after catching a short pass and breaking a tackle.

His coaches say he is a completely different player now than he was then, a better one. Green-Beckham says he felt comfortable as soon as the games started. His first touchdown came on an 80-yard reception against Central Florida.

The team's quarterback and offensive line struggles have prevented any of the Tigers receivers from putting up big numbers, but Green-Beckham has been relatively productive.

Despite being suspended for a game, Green-Beckham is tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns, and so far, he has more receptions (22) than redshirt junior L'Damian Washington (16), who calls Green-Beckham his little brother.

Washington roomed with Green-Beckham during the summer and mentored him after Green-Beckham was arrested for marijuana possession in October.

The receivers also have shared the frustration of the team's poor passing game.

The Missouri offense is still a work in progress, but Green-Beckham is back in the flow of things.

"I think he's a guy who's just starting to turn it on," Washington said. "Things are starting to click and slow down for him. It's becoming just like high school football for him."

It showed Saturday against Tennessee. Green-Beckham was wide open on the biggest play of the game.

Before the play, Green-Beckham looked at Franklin. Green-Beckham drew something with his hands, showing Franklin what he would do after running the called route.

Missouri trailed Tennessee by seven and it was fourth-and-12. The true freshman wide receiver called "D.G.B." escaped the defense down the left sideline.

After rolling left out of the pocket, Franklin moved left, saw Green-Beckham and let it fly.

Missouri's hopes of a bowl eligibility rode on this play. Drop it, and the game is over. Tennessee could run out the clock and close out the 28-21 win.

There was a lot of pressure on him, but Green-Beckham didn't seem fazed. He planted his feet in bounds calmly and made a clean catch. It was his first catch of the game.

Green-Beckham added another touchdown catch in the third of four overtimes in the Tigers' 51-48 win over the Volunteers.

"It’s a glimpse of what he can be," said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. "A glimpse."

Missouri has two games left. If the Tigers get to a bowl game, there will be a third. Either way, Green-Beckham's season totals won't be eye-popping.

This season will probably go down as just a glimpse of the young star.

His ripple will come later.

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder


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