Springfield, Mo., wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's No. 1 recruit, is set to announce his collegiate destination Wednesday, and Missouri made its best effort this weekend to keep the 6-foot-6, 220-pound gem in his home state.
Green-Beckham made his final official visit to Columbia to meet with coaches, players and fellow recruits, check out the campus and take in the Tigers' basketball game against Texas Tech. And during each step, Missouri fans were nipping at his heels with signs, cheering and a lot of begging.
It was the crest of a fever-pitched recruiting effort for Green-Beckham that even included head coach Gary Pinkel dropping in on DGB's high school in a helicopter. Missouri still has to outdo Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma for Green-Beckham, but many believe the Tigers are the favorites.
And it's easy to see the reason for all the hoopla. Missouri is definitely out of its element when courting the nation's No. 1 prospect. The Tigers have gotten their fair share of high-level players, but snagging a specimen like Green-Beckham — heck, even getting Green-Beckham to campus — is a coup that can only be attributed to that fact that Mizzou is the home state school. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's got an offense that loves its wide receivers, or that it's moving to the nation's best conference, the SEC.
Just in case DGB was still contemplating his decision, Missouri took one last chance to woo DGB and made the most of it. As DGB rolled up to the Missouri football offices last Friday, about 80 fans showed up as an unofficial welcoming party chanting his name. The phrase, "We love you!" was even thrown out.
During the Mizzou-Tech basketball game on Saturday, the entire arena erupted when DGB came out of the tunnel and the student section changed Missouri's famed "M-I-Z, Z-O-U" cheer to "M-I-Z, D-G-B" just for the guest of honor. They made the same gesture as he walked out of the arena late in the second half.
Although Missouri probably won't know for sure if the efforts of its fan base were enough to sway DGB to take his talents to Columbia, at least one reporter seems to think it was. Monday morning, Tulsa World writer John Hoover wrote that he had a very good source tell him that DGB was headed to Mizzou. Of course, CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd immediately refuted the rumor after speaking to DGB's coach and adoptive father, John Beckham.
It's probably fair to say that kind of back and forth speculation will be going on up until DGB signs on the dotted line.
It's hard to believe that a high school player should warrant that kind of attention, but that's the wonderful world of recruiting and Missouri is finally in the game. As it moves to the SEC, Mizzou will probably have access to another level of recruit, but it will also be fighting with some of the best pitchmen, I mean recruiters, in the business. If the Tigers are able to snag the nation's top recruit, it will only raise the interest of more highly-touted players.
And Missouri can probably thank this sign for that.
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