Yesterday, the SEC announced its preseason all-conference teams. One thing that stuck out was the selection of Missouri sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the second team. This pick seems to be based as much on potential as anything, as his freshman year line of 28 catches for 395 yards and 5 TDs was hardly impressive. The SEC coaches clearly recognize that he has talent, but now it’s time for him to step up and show it.
Last season, DGB was the number one rated high school recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com, but his freshman year was fairly run-of-the-mill. Early in the year, he only saw the field in select packages, and struggled catching only 7 passes in the first five games of the season before being suspended for a game. The first real flash of his talent fans saw was an 80 yard catch and run touchdown vs. the University of Central Florida. However, that was his only catch of the day.
It wasn’t until the last five games of the season that DGB really seemed to become an important part of the offense catching 21 passes for 267 yards and 4 TDs. In a four overtime victory vs. Tennessee, he caught two, clutch touchdowns which again showed flashes of the talent that made him such a highly rated player.
But now it’s time for DGB to step up and be “The Man”. If Mizzou hopes to have any success in 2013, they need DGB to finish on the all-conference first team by the end of the season. He is possibly the only player on the Missouri roster who could start for any team in the SEC. At 6’ 6”, 225 lbs, he has the size, speed and strength to dominate at the wide receiver position in the same way that Larry Fitzgerald did at Pittsburgh, or Calvin Johnson did at Georgia Tech.
Are those big names to compare him to? Absolutely. Is it a fair comparison? Probably not. Both of those players had much better freshman seasons than DGB, and showed flashes of greatness early. Fitzgerald broke out as a sophomore to the tune of 92 catches for 1,672 yards and 22 TDs in 2003. Johnson’s dominance wasn’t until he posted 76 catches for 1,202 yards and 15 TDs as a junior in a very run-heavy offense (Johnson had over 50% of his teams receiving yards in 2006).
Can Missouri win if DGB is just very good? They can probably win 6 or 7 games, and possibly make a bowl. But they won’t stand a chance against most of their SEC schedule. To break through and beat some of the top ranked teams on their schedule, they need DGB to dominate this year to the tune of 1,500+ yards and double digit TDs. If he can do that, then Mizzou will have a chance to spring a couple of upsets and elevate to an 8 or 9 win campaign.
Part of this depends of Gary Pinkel insisting that quarterback James Franklin go to DGB early and often in games. Pinkel has shown in the past that he will make sure his top targets get the ball. He came up with tons of creative ways to get the ball into Jeremy Maclin‘s hands throughout his time at Mizzou. He unabashedly seemed to call every play for Danario Alexander in 2009. It stands to reason he would treat Green-Beckham the same way this season.
The talent is definitely there. It seems more like a question of when than if he will eventually be dominant. Hopefully, it will be in 2013.