Heralded Mizzou Recruit Looking for Sophomore Breakout - The Missourian: Sports

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Heralded Mizzou Recruit Looking for Sophomore Breakout

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Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 1:00 pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Production did not live up to the hype last fall for Dorial Green-Beckham, the teenage sensation already known better by his three initials before arriving at Missouri.

This year, the Tigers are hoping, will be DGB’s true coming-out party.

Freshman year was a mixed bag for the player rated the No. 1 prospect in the nation by several services. Immediately plugged into the mix rather than taking a redshirt year, he was not the difference-maker that Tigers needed on a 5-7 team.

Missouri anticipates a player in the mold of Julio Jones and A.J. Green — long, lean, rugged speedsters who hit the ground running in the SEC and became top 10 NFL draft picks and pro stars after three years in college.

But Green-Beckham wasn’t all that last year. He made just one start in the fall, finished fourth on the team with 28 receptions and got limited playing time.

“The only goal that I’ve got,” Green-Beckham said, “is to be the best player I can be and push myself, no matter what.”

In 2008, Jones and Green made their college debuts, and both were showered with national awards for what they did. Jones was AP freshman of the year at Georgia with 58 catches for 924 yards and four touchdowns with three 100-yard games. Green was the SEC coaches’ freshman of the year after making 11 starts and setting school freshman records with 56 receptions and 963 yards.

The big-play chops Green-Beckham flashed this spring has coaches convinced he’s over growing pains and ready for the fast track.

Coach Gary Pinkel saw maturity from a player who’s had the total package for a while now.

“He’s a different guy,” Pinkel said. “He catches the ball so well, he can turn an average play into a big play, and I think we’re starting to see really how good he can be.”

The 6-6, 220-pound Green-Beckham also drew rave comparisons to Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson coming out of Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Mo. Missouri first offered him a scholarship at age 15, and DGB rewarded the school’s doggedness and stayed in-state, declining offers from Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma.

Since arriving, there’s been no star treatment. Green-Beckham was behind senior starter Marcus Lucas for the spring game.

But he’s not the only Top 10 recruit who struggled last year.

Florida redshirted defensive tackle Mario Edwards, ranked No. 1 overall by ESPN, Alabama safety Landon Collins made no starts, and the highlight game for Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman was three tackles with one for a loss against Wake Forest. Notre Dame’s Davonte Neal managed one catch for a 5-yard loss.

On the top end, Georgia running back Keith Marshall had 759 yards rushing with eight TDs and was SEC offensive newcomer of the year, Texas running back Johnathan Gray had 701 yards rushing and three TDs, and Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries made three starts and was all-SEC freshman.

DGB did not put up huge numbers in the annual Black and Gold game last month, with three catches for 49 yards. But his 35-yard catch and run over the middle was among the highlights, and he was much more at ease talking to reporters, too.

“Just a guy feeling like he knows what he’s doing,” new offensive coordinator Josh Henson said. “He’s getting more comfortable with executing his assignments, and he’s getting the ball, he’s getting open and making plays.

“And I think all those things lend to your personality coming out, feeling more comfortable in your skin.”

The spring game offered plenty of teaching points, too. Henson said Green-Beckham’s route could have been run “a lot better” on a pass that was intercepted and added DGB must learn to combine body control and ability consistently.

“He’s got great talent,” Henson said. “He’s got to learn to use it every snap, every down, every time. He does that, he’s going to have a chance to be a great player.”

Despite the limited looks last year, Green-Beckham had a team-leading five touchdown catches and a 14.1-yard average hinted at the blend of elusiveness. The numbers paled in comparison to prodigious production in high school, when he set a national prep record of 6,353 yards receiving and 75 touchdowns and racked up 119 catches and 24 touchdowns his senior year.

Missouri gave most improved awards at every position, many of them to under-the-radar players who climbed a notch or two on the depth chart. Though very much on the radar, DGB was the pick as most improved wide receiver.

“Last year took a lot of pressure off me, going out there and learning quickly as the game went by,” Green-Beckham said. “As spring ball went by, I’ve learned and become that player that everybody wanted me to be.

“My confidence level is really high right now.”

He’s a fan of new offense, expected to be somewhat simplified after season-long struggles last year with wide receivers lining up on the same side. Under Henson, promoted after four seasons as co-offensive line coach, it’s also likely there’ll be faster play-calling, far fewer empty backfields and not as many designed quarterback runs.

“I mean, it was really good,” Green-Beckham said. “There’s a lot of positive things that he has up his sleeve that we’re going to use this upcoming season.”

The variable Green-Beckham can’t control is who’s throwing to him. Senior James Franklin is coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued junior year and will have to outplay challengers Maty Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser in August to keep his starting job.

After grading all the practices and scrimmages and the spring game, Henson said the coaching staff has “an opinion in our minds” about the QB competition.

“I like the variety of all of them,” Green-Beckham said. “I mean, they’ve all got good arms and they’re all going to make positive things happen when they step on the field.”

That’s got to be DGB’s aim, too. Between now and September, Missouri wants the phenom to really step up.

‘’He can be a lot better than what we’re seeing right now,” Pinkel said. “You take all summer, and then all August. We should see a considerably different guy than we saw a year ago.”

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

Boys Basketball

Friday, Jan. 2

Sullivan at Washington    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

Community Christian at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Liberty Christian    7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Fulton SA at Bethel    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:45 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    7 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Eagle Ridge    7:45 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

&Borgia vs. Lutheran N    TBA

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Monday, Jan. 12

%St. Charles vs. Bayless    6 p.m.

%Westminster vs. Washington    7:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at Providence    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

%Borgia vs. St. Clair    6 p.m.

#South Callaway vs. North Callaway    6 p.m.

#Hermann vs. Russellville    6 p.m.

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

%Francis Howell Central vs. Union    7:30 p.m.

#Montgomery Co vs. New Bloomfield    7:30 p.m.

#Harrisburg vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

#South Callaway-North Callaway loser vs. Montgomery Co-New Bloomfield loser    6 p.m.

#South Callaway-North Callaway winner vs. Montgomery Co-New Bloomfield winner    6 p.m.

Bethel at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

#Hermann-Russellville loser vs. Harrisburg-New Haven loser    7:30 p.m.

#Hermann-Russellville winner vs. Harrisburg-New Haven winner    7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

%St. Charles-Bayless loser vs. Westminster-Washington loser    4 p.m.

%Borgia-St. Clair loser vs. Francis Howell Central-Union loser    5:30 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

%St. Charles-Bayless winner vs. Westminster-Washington winner    7 p.m.

Providence at Fulton SA    7 pm.

#Seventh-place game    7:30 p.m.

Consolation game    7:30 p.m.

%Borgia-St. Clair winner vs. Francis Howell Central-Union winner    8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

%Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

#Third-place game    3:30 p.m.

%Consolation game    4 p.m.

%Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

#Championship game    6:30 p.m.

%Championship game    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    6:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    7:30 p.m.

%Washington Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

Girls Basketball

Friday, Dec. 26

Seckman Tournament

Northwest 43, Mehlville 42

Festus 58, Patriettes 13

Seckman 36, Oakville 28

Pacific 73, Carnahan 38

Saturday, Dec. 27

Seckman Tournament

Mehlville 39, Patriettes 35

Oakville 73, Carnahan 38

Festus 47, Northwest 30

Pacific 51, Seckman 33

Monday, Dec. 29

Seckman Tournament

Seventh-place game—Carnahan vs. Patriettes    1:30 p.m.

Third-place game—Seckman vs. Northwest    1:30 p.m.

Consolation game—Oakville vs. Mehlville    3 p.m.

Championship game—Pacific vs. Festus   3 p.m.

Rolla Tournament

St. Clair vs. Waynesville    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Rolla Tournament

St. James-Sedalia loser vs. Waynesville-St.Clair loser    2 p.m.

St. James-Sedalia winner vs. Waynesville-St. Clair winner    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 31

Rolla Tournament

Consolation game    9 a.m.

Seventh-place game    9 a.m. at MS&T

Third-place game    12 p.m.

Championship game    3 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 2

Hermann at Washington    5:30 p.m.

New Haven at Bourbon    6 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 5

*Union at New Haven    6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

*Holt at Washington    5:30 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Liberty Christian    5:30 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Borgia at St. Clair    7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Fulton SA at Bethel    5 p.m.

Park Hills Central at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

Cuba at New Haven    6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

*Ft. Zumwalt South at Washington    6 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Eagle Ridge    6:15 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

Borgia vs. MICDS (St. Joseph’s Academy Shootout)    12:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Monday, Jan. 12

Lutheran South at St Clair    5:30 p.m.

Lindbergh at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

@Washington vs. Patriettes    5:30 p.m.

#Harrisburg vs. Russellville    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield vs. Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

Fulton SA at Providence    6 p.m.

@Helias vs. Sullivan    7 p.m.

#North Callaway vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

#Hermann vs. South Callaway    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Pacific at Ursuline    4:30 p.m.

Ft. Zumwalt East at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West vs. Union    5:30 p.m.

@Borgia vs. Eureka    7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 14

#Harrisburg-Russellville loser vs. North Callaway-New Haven loser    6 p.m.

#Harrisburg-Russellville winner vs. North Callaway-New Haven winner    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield-Montgomery Co loser vs. Hermann-South Callaway loser    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield-Montgomery Co winner vs. Hermann-South Callaway winner    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Bethel at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Northwest at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

@Washington-Patriettes loser vs. Helias-Sullivan loser    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West-Union loser vs. Borgia-Eureka loser    7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

@Washington-Patriettes winner vs. Helias-Sullivan winner    5:30 p.m.

Providence at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

#Seventh-place game    6 p.m.

#Consolation game    6 p.m.

@St. Charles West-Union winner vs. Borgia-Eureka winner    7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

@Seventh-place game    1 p.m.

#Third-place game    2 p.m.

@Consolation game    2:30 p.m.

@Third-place game    4 p.m.

#Championship    5 p.m.

@Championship    5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Union at Warrenton    6 p.m.

Montgomery Co at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    5 p.m.

Parkway West at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

New Haven at Wellsville    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    6 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

@Union Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

Wrestling

Friday, Dec. 26

Union, Pacific at Hillsboro Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 27

Union, Pacific at Hillsboro Tny    TBA

Monday, Dec. 29

Washington at Lindbergh Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Washington at Lindbergh Tny    TBA

Wednesday, Jan. 7

*Ft. Zumwalt South at Washington     6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Washington at Granite City    4:30 p.m.

Borgia at Hancock Tri-Meet    5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

Washington at GAC Championships    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

Washington at GAC Championships    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Union at Liberty Quad    5 p.m.

Washington at Warrenton    6 p.m.

*Sullivan at Pacific    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 14

*Washington at Holt/Ft. Zumwalt East    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Westminster at Pacific    6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

Union at Branson    5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

Borgia at Owensville Tny    9 a.m.

Washington, Pacific at 141 Rumble    TBA

Union at Branson Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 20

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt North    6 p.m.

Union at Sullivan/St. James/Warrenton    5 p.m.

Girls Swimming

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Borgia at Kennedy    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

Borgia/Washington at MICDS    4:15 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 12

Borgia at DuBourg    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Washington at Clayton    4:15 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt West    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt East/Timberland    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL