SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The recruitment of Dorial Green-Beckham is over, but not the second-guessing. The Hillcrest High School senior all-everything wide receiver inked his letter of intent with the University of Missouri before a packed gymnasium on Wednesday morning. Mizzou had always been a top option for the country's top high school recruit, but not the only one.
"It was the place for me to just stay home and have all these people come out here and just watch me play," said Green-Beckham. "I guess the Missouri Tigers were the right fit."
Many factors led Green-Beckham to Columbia, none more than his relationship with Mizzou's coaching staff over the last four years. Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel's recruitment won him over with his personality.
"Just his personality, I really like him," said Green-Beckham. "I felt like they had been there since day one, at the start. That's the right place for me."
Green-Beckham acknowledged he had a good relationship with the other coaching staffs involved in the recruiting process, including the Arkansas Razorbacks staff. The relationship took a new twist after former Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee left the school to be the new head coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The relationship between the two of them was described as close.
"I think that this is speculation on my part, but Garrick McGee was a lead recruiter for Arkansas and took a head coaching job in Alabama. That might have played a role," said adopted father and Hillcrest head football coach John Beckham. "For a new coach to come in, with a month to go, that's a tough road to climb."
Pinkel had help attracting the 6'6", 220-pound receiver compared to the NFL's Calvin Johnson. Mizzou's spread-offense fits his talents. Green-Beckham can line up in either the slot or on the outside. Missouri junior-to-be quarterback James Franklin showed promise late in his sophomore season. Green-Beckham will likely step into a starting spot, adding a deep threat to the Tigers strong receiving corps of Marcus Lucas and T.J. Moe.
"I kind of just stuck myself into the offense and just pictured myself playing, and see what opportunities we could have this fall," said Green-Beckham. "
While Green-Beckham was setting receiving records in Springfield, Missouri quarterback signee Maty Mauk was breaking national passing records in Ohio. Mauk threw for career high school record 21,565 yards and touchdowns with 213 for Kenton High School in Kenton, Ohio, while operating the spread offense. Mauk and Green-Beckham stayed close through the recruiting process. The two visited Mizzou together in the final weekend before signing day.
"He just wanted me to go where it felt right for me," said Green-Beckham. "It's a big relief. I'm real excited now."
The signing of Green-Beckham gives Mizzou plenty of momentum heading into the schoool's first season in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri made the conference switch in October, during the heart of the recruiting season. The news then did little to impact Green-Beckham's signing day decision. However, playing in the SEC excites the high school senior.
"I'm real excited about them being in the SEC and for me to join them," said Green-Beckham. "It's going to be a big change, big atmosphere to play those type of teams. However, I think they (Mizzou) can hold their own."
Distance had always been a factor for Green-Beckham and his family in his college choice. Columbia's central location added in Missouri added to the hype. The home-state kid aspect did too. That's where Arkansas could not compete.
"All the schools, I had a great time going to and visiting," said Green-Beckham. "Just to come out here and be here in Missouri and to have the whole state excited for me to play here."
The all-America receiver's adoptive family has always been a part of Green-Beckham's life. That did not change in his college choice decision-making either.
"We don't talk about recruiting very much," said John Beckham. "We kind of thought we were going to have a family discussion, but that never occurred."
Dorial Green-Beckham expects to join his new Mizzou teammates after graduation. Missouri opens its first season in the Southeastern Conference on Sept. 1.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times