Let’s rewind to a time roughly eight years ago. I was a freshman in college living in the Pi Kappa Alpha house. My freshman year had been an absolute blast. The move to the SEC had been announced, the Tigers basketball team was reconciling by winning, and one of the biggest recruiting wins in program history was about to take place.
The date is February 2, 2012.
It’s 9am. The best player in the country is about to make his decision of where he’ll play football in college. Nationally, people think he’ll choose Arkansas. Locally, media is convinced he’s going to play for Mizzou.
This is setting up for an all-time Mizzou’d moment.
Except something different happens this time. DGB doesn’t spurn the home school. Anything but, in fact. There were no tricks. There was no glitz or glamour. DGB was going to be a Tiger. The biggest recruiting win in Gary Pinkel’s career was complete.
The top rated player in the country was coming to play at Mizzou!
It’s hard to overstate how significant the recruiting victory felt at the time. Mizzou was coming off what was a modest 8-5 final season in the Big 12. There was momentum for the program, but most of that surrounded the move to the SEC. The addition of Dorial Green-Beckham pushed that momentum into hyper-speed.
A four-year recruitment came to an end today when Dorial Green-Beckham committed to the University of Missouri at 9:17 a.m. today at Springfield Hillcrest High School. While Missouri’s transition to the SEC (and the loss of Barry Odom) has resulted in a bit of an up-and-down class overall, the star power is strong with Green-Beckham, Evan Boehm, Maty Mauk and others.
So count this as the Tigers’ first victory in the Southeastern Conference. And a big one, at that.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Green-Beckham chose the Tigers over Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas after breaking the national career receiving record with 6,353 yards. He unveiled his choice before a pro-Mizzou crowd of 1,500, some 20 television cameras and a national audience on ESPNU.
Green-Beckham provides a huge signing-day boost for Missouri, set to leave the Big 12 Conference for the SEC on July 1. Before Wednesday, Missouri sat outside ESPN’s class rankings, which feature eight SEC schools among the list of 25 — including Alabama, Florida and Georgia in the top five.
Growing up, I was the type of Mizzou fan who kept tabs on recruiting, but mostly in the big picture sense. Was this a good recruiting class or not? How did it rank nationally?
For me, DGB was one of the first recruiting stories I paid attention to from start to finish. I remember waking up that morning wondering if the dream would become a reality. When I saw him put on the Mizzou hat, I lost it. I ran through the halls of my fraternity screaming, “MIZ-DGB!”
The buzz didn’t dissipate for quite some time. It certainly carried through the weekend when the Tigers played their final home game against kU. What a time to be a student at Mizzou.
Obviously things didn’t go as planned for DGB at Mizzou. It certainly didn’t end in Columbia the way anyone would have wished for. But that’s a different conversation for a different day.
The day DGB signed with Mizzou was the day Mizzou truly felt like an SEC football program. That might sound like an overstatement. But given the magnitude of this story, honestly, it might be an understatement.