Yesterday was national signing day, the day when thousands of high school football players put their names to paper and signed letters of intent to universities across the country.
Alabama, somewhat unsurprisingly, came away with what most analysts believe to be the best recruiting class overall. Most of the other schools at the top of the rankings were big-name schools as well; Ohio State, Florida, and Florida State all did well. Notre Dame came away with Gunner Kiel, the top-ranked quarterback in the nation. The rich get richer, world without end, amen.
When the dust had settled, though, there was another school which did remarkably well for itself. In fact, this school, despite not being one of the biggest names in the nation, came away with the number one overall recruit in the country, a talent the likes of which doesn't come along very often.
The player was Dorial Green-Beckham, and the school was Missouri.
Green-Beckham, or DGB
as you'll most likely hear him called, was the top wide receiver recruit and considered almost unanimously to be the top signee in the nation. A physical monster from Springfield, Missouri, DGB chose to stay relatively close to home at Mizzou rather than leave the state. He had offers from as far afield as Alabama, Texas
, and Arkansas
, but ultimately chose the Tigers.
The measurables are unreal; 6'6", 220 lbs, runs a 4.43 40. Physically, he's Calvin Johnson. DGB will have a chance to play immediately for the Tigers; his talent is special enough he won't have to sit and wait for his opportunity. The moment he steps on the field he'll become one of the best receivers in the SEC.
The on-field impact is one thing; what this says about Missouri's place in college football and their new conference could potentially be even more important. Heading into the toughest conference in all of college football, Mizzou snatched up the top talent in the nation. Geography played a huge role, of course, but this was a player capable of playing for any program in the country. The fact he chose to wear black and gold cannot be oversold in its importance to the Mizzou football program. Gary Pinkel and his staff have become known for running one of the smartest systems in all of college football and getting more out of less talent; this is their moment of bringing in that absolute elite talent which hasn't always been there for the getting in the past.
There's another potential wrinkle here, one that could have some rather remarkable repercussions in the near future. Last autumn, the Tigers received a commitment from Maty Mauk, the top player in the state of Ohio and a quarterback of record-setting pedigree. Mauk holds national high school records for passing attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns. He played his high school ball in a wide-open spread offense, sort of an idealized version of what Mizzou has run the past handful of years.
So the Tigers have Maty Mauk, holder of most meaningful high school career passing records, and Dorial Green-Beckham, owner of the all-time receiving yards record. DGB will start immediately, while Mauk will hit the sidelines and wait for an opportunity to present itself. Still, it's very possible in the next couple of years the Missouri Tigers could have the most prolific passer and the most prolific pass catcher in high school football history teaming up on the same field.
Of course, Green-Beckham and Maty Mauk weren't the only players inked by the Tigers yesterday, but they're the ones who will receive the majority of the headines. Among the other notable signees for Mizzou is Evan Boehm, an offensive guard ranked #2 at his position nationwide, and Sean Culkin, a tight end recruit from a Florida high school who has the size and athleticism to follow in the footsteps of former Mizzou standout tight ends such as Chase Coffman and Michael Egnew.
It was a good day for the Missouri Tigers without question. They brought in a tremendous haul of talent, including the biggest fish in the whole sea, and in doing so signed an elite player capable of making the difference this coming year even in the huge, dangerous pond that is the SEC. The rest of their recruiting class was really just icing on the cake.