In full disclosure, I’m a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an over-the-top Mizzou Tiger Fan. I do bleed black and gold.
So when Dorial Green-Beckham, wonder-kid from Hillcrest High School in Springfield doffed the Tiger ball cap and declared himself a future Tiger before his school mates and a national audience on ESPNU Wednesday morning, I was ecstatic to say the least.
Mizzou’s coach Gary Pinkel has been building towards this day for more than a decade.
Green-Beckham can rest comfortably, knowing that Pinkel and assistant coaches will be around just as long as he is as a student/athlete in Columbia.
It would have been easy to pick the Razorback hat. Fayetteville, AR is closer by miles than his 170 mile jaunt to Columbia.
But I can only surmise that the superstar pass catcher felt a sense of pride in representing his home state of Missouri. His decision met with the delirious approval of his classmates.
Plucking star athletes from Greene County have been a losing proposition for decades.
Seems like when someone’s a star in Springfield, they head to warmer climes like Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Sometimes, it feels like Springfield isn’t even in the state.
Heading into the inaugural season of play in the Southeast Conference, the timing could not be better. Pinkel has laid down the law, he was attempting to secure his borders for the top talent once and for all.
National sports commentators put Mizzou on notice, saying they needed to sign this in state super star, or remain a second tier program.
I remember when Columbia Hickman had a star running back Gary Anderson a long time ago. He announced from a fraternity house in Columbia, he was headed to Arkansas. The Razorbacks out dueled Mizzou for SLUH’s rusher Ronnie Wingo. two years ago.
I caution Mizzou fans to ease up on the peddle. Some 30 years ago, the the Tigers signed another three-named guy Tony VanZant. Seems he was severely injured during the summer high school all-star game in Jeff City, and never played a down for the Tigers.
Mizzou’s offense is geared to throwing the ball. The Tigers are talent-rich at quarterback. James Franklin has blossomed into one of the country’s best prospects. Now he has solid back ups in Corbin Berkstresser and incoming freshman Maty Mauk of Kenton, Ohio. Mauk set four national high school passing records. The Tigers will have other talented targets including T.J. Moe of Fort Zumwalt West.
I just bet the phone is ringing off the hook with inquiries about season ticket sales at Mizzou. The lure of having Georgia, Alabama, LSU and the likes make trips to Columbia is irresistible.
Mizzou has had its ups and downs over the years. Beating Oklahoma and Nebraska was daunting, but on occasions, they got it done. Pinkel has brought steadiness and consistency to the program. After all, the Tigers were ranked No.1 in the nation a couple of years ago, one week after whipping the Sooners behind the passing and running of Blaine Gabbert.
It could happen again. Seems that seating at Faurot Field will grow to 90,000 with more luxury boxes for donors on the drawing board.
It will be one thing to play in the SEC, and another to be a dominant team. Football in the southeast is more like a religious experience.
Dorial Green-Beckham did the Tigers a great favor. He sent a message he thinks MU football can be on par with the SEC elites.
I bet MU recruiters are on the doorstep of rushing star Ezekiel Elliott at John Burroughs and behemoth tackle Jack Kurzu at MICDS at this very moment.
This is a great time to be an MU Tiger.