Published February 20, 2012 - 10:00am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Dorial Green-Beckham has had a ton of ink allocated to him in his short career. DGB, as they call him, looks to be one of the most highly celebrated recruits in a some time as a wide receiver, and he is certainly one of the most highly recruited prospects Missouri has ever inked for their program. Sure, there was Jeremy Maclin and others, but I’m talking about hype coming out of high school and being rated as the No. 1 rated overall recruit in the country by some.
Everyone in the SEC remembers when AJ Green showed up at Georgia his freshman year, catching everything thrown within a 20’ radius of him. Coming out of high school, Green was 6’4” and 184lbs. He was a skinny freak of talent who caught everything. He had height, long arms and athleticism, and he could create separation off the line of scrimmage in year one against good SEC defensive backs.
Not to be outshined by Green, Julio Jones also came in ready to play as a freshman in 2008, the same recruiting cycle as Green. Jones, as well all know, went on to have a great career at Alabama. He was more physically ready to play than Green was at that time as a freshman, but Green arguably had the better hands. Jones entered Alabama at 6’4” and 215lbs – a specimen as a freshman.
Currently, DGB is 6’6” and 220lbs, and he’s arguably more physically ready than Green was as an 18 year-old athlete and more comparable athletically to Jones.
Wide receiver is a position in which a freshman can come in early and make an impact. We can look at guys over time who have done just that and have made an instant impact at the next level right out of high school. Guys like Percy Harvin, Alshon Jeffery, Jones and Green made the transition look rather simple going against SEC defenses and earning respect in year one because of their freakish play-making abilities.
In an interesting article over on the Mothership, the below chart outlined freshman wide receiver impacts dating back to 2006. I wanted to see if any one of the receivers had help in their freshman year, or if they were the leading receiver for their team in their freshman season:
|Player||Team/Year||Rec., Yards; TDs||#1 WR; Stats On Team|
|AJ Green||Georgia 2008||56 rec., 963 yds, 8 TDs||Mohamed Massaquoi – 58 rec., 920 yds, 8 TDs|
|Julio Jones||Alabama 2008||58 rec., 924 yds, 4 TDs||Jones was No. 1 WR|
|Alshon Jeffery||South Carolina 2009||46 rec., 763 yds, 6 TDs||Jeffery was No. 1 WR|
|Malcolm Mitchell||Georgia 2011||45 rec., 665 yds, 4 TDs||Mitchell was No. 1 WR|
|Odell Beckham, Jr.||LSU 2011||41 rec., 475 yds, 2 TDs||Rueben Randle 50 rec., 904 yds, 8 TDs|
|Percy Harvin||Florida 2006||34 rec., 427 yds, 2 TDs||Dallas Baker – 60 rec., 920 yds, 10 TDs|
Three out of the six players above had another leading receiver who helped take the spotlight and double teams away from them during their freshman season.
However, to look at what Julio Jones did with 924 receiving yards and four touchdowns and to lead his team in receiving is amazing. Marquis Maze, the second leading receiver, had only 523 yards receiving.
Obviously, in order to get receiving yards and touchdowns, there has to be a quarterback who can get you the football. And Missouri does have a quarterback in James Franklin, who threw for 2,865 yards and 21 touchdowns last year – Franklin might make some noise in the SEC next season.
The good news for DGB is that he has the leading receiver TJ Moe returning. Moe caught 54 balls for 649 yards and four touchdowns. Second leading wide receiver Marcus Lucas returns as well (23 receptions, 414 yds, 5 TD).
The returning WR talent will help take pressure and double teams off of DGB. This team should be able to score against middle-of-the-road East teams and compete immediately in the SEC.
Missouri is a great place for DGB to make an instant impact next year against the SEC simply because he has a veteran and proven quarterback and good talent returning at receiver that will give him time to get acclimated and open in the secondary.