Last year, Dorial Green-Beckham’s accomplishments were ranked No. 3 on the News-Leader’s year-end list.
So, in more ways than one, he’s now on to the next level.
The main moment of Green-Beckham’s 2012 was one Ozarkers — and then much of America — had been anticipating for years.
Green-Beckham addressed a full crowd of Hillcrest students, administration, family, media and other onlookers — not to mention a national TV audience on ESPNU — on National Signing Day on Feb. 1 and announced his college football intentions.
“This morning, it is an honor to announce that I will be continuing my education this fall at …,” he said, before turning around and snatching something from his brother, Kingsley Ehie.
He put on a black, flat-billed cap that said “Mizzou” and people in the crowd erupted before he could finish his sentence: “… the University of Missouri.”
And with that, the nation’s biggest recruit was a Tiger.
Green-Beckham had already stepped on to the national stage in 2011, as he raked in national awards and topped the national career receiving-yard mark, finishing with 6,356 yards.
In 2012, the then-undecided Green-Beckham was the talk of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and then lived up to expectations in San Antonio, winning season MVP and then co-MVP honors for the game.
He returned to town and finished his Hillcrest basketball career as the leading scorer in Springfield Public Schools history with 2,092 points, and then led the Hornets back to Columbia, falling in the Class 4 state final.
Green-Beckham sat out the track season but was easily named the News-Leader’s Male Athlete of the Year.
In Columbia, Green-Beckham was one of three true freshmen to play for Mizzou, playing for the first year in the powerful Southeastern Conference.
He scored a team-leading five touchdowns among his 28 receptions as a freshman, amassing 395 yards. His production picked up toward the end of the season after a one-game suspension following a marijuana arrest.