SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - M-I-Z-D-G-B!
In a scene that mirrored a Presidential visit at Hillcrest High school, Dorial Green-Beckham announced a decision fans across the country had been anticipating for nearly four years.
"It is an honor to announce I would continue my education at the University of Missouri," said Green-Beckham.
The 6'6", 220-pound chose the Tigers over Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama. The country's top ranked high school recruit did it with plenty of fanfare. Hillcrest High School's gymnasium was filled with classmates, teammates, dozens of members of the media and fans of both Mizzou and Arkansas. ESPN-U aired the announcement to the entire country. Green-Beckham says the decision was not decided till this week.
"I slept on it Monday, then I told my parents where I was going," said Green-Beckham.
Missouri's spread offense has always been mentioned as a good fit for the big target. Soon-to-be junior quarterback James Franklin showed improvement last season, leading the Tigers to four straight victories, including an Independence Bowl win against North Carolina. He hopes to begin workouts with his new teammates at Mizzou as soon as he graduates.
"I see myself coming in there and leading the offense real well, having James Franklin creating a whole lot of space, having more time to throw the ball," said Green-Beckham. I feel more comfortable with my decision."
But what sold Dorial Green-Beckham on Mizzou was the coaching staff. Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel's has prided himself on few staff changes. Green-Beckham's four-year relationship with those coaches during the recruiting process won him over.
"The relationship with all the (Mizzou) coaches has been good, growing up all my high school years all the coaches have been great, fantastic to me,"said Green-Beckham. "I felt like it was the place for me, to stay home."
Green-Beckham left his mark on the Hillcrest High School football program. He set a national record for receiving yards at 6,356. The Hornets star caught 119 passes for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns his senior season. His play led to national exposure for Hillcrest and the community of Springfield.
"It was important for the school and the community for us to have our moment," said Hillcrest Head Coach and Green-Beckham's father John Beckham. "It's a great honor, he had a great high school career. But this chapter is over."
With that exposure comes recruiting exhaustion. Green-Beckham says he's ready to begin the next challenge in his life, a student-athlete at Mizzou.
"It's a big relief, I'm real excited now to finish this whole recruiting process, continue with my life, and finish playing basketball with my teammates," said Green-Beckham.
Green-Beckham is expected to join his Tigers teammates in Columbia after graduation at Hillcrest.
Missouri opens its first Southeastern Conference season September first.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun