Remember nearly two years ago, when Dorial Green-Beckham was the No. 1 overall recruit in the country in the 247Sports composite—a can't-miss immediate-impact recruit and the "next A.J. Green" or "Julio Jones" in the SEC?
Yeah, that hit a minor snag.
Green-Beckham was remarkably average in his first season with Missouri, catching 28 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns during his freshman campaign in 2012.
But a year of work and the offseason, coupled with more consistent quarterback play from James Franklin and Maty Mauk has worked wonders for Green-Beckham's development, and he's emerged as a legit threat for the ninth-ranked Tigers.
The 6'6", 225-pound sophomore from Springfield, Mo., had his best game as a Tiger last Saturday, catching seven passes for 100 yards and a school-record four touchdowns in Missouri's 48-17 win at Kentucky. Included in those seven catches were several highlight-reel catches, including one over a defender for a touchdown in the third quarter.
"We're just fortunate he's on my team," head coach Gary Pinkel said, per MUTigers.com. "A guy like that can make plays, you coach them only to a certain point, you can throw it up and he made a couple really great catches."
Green-Beckham's success against Kentucky came despite plenty of attention being directed his way by the Wildcats.
"I guess that was one of their game plans, to key on me really," he said. "The safety was really rolling over most of the game. I just felt like I came out there and just beat their defense myself and just went out there and made plays."
Granted, this was Kentucky's defense, not Alabama's. But he did beat an SEC defense nearly by himself.
That's frightening for the 13 defensive coordinators in the SEC not drawing a paycheck from Missouri.
This is the DGB the college football world anticipated when he signed with Missouri. The guy who wins 75 percent of 50/50 balls. The guy who uses his big frame to get into position to make key catches. The guy who can be a quarterback's ultimate safety valve.
He now has 40 catches for 579 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Not only has Green-Beckham proven to be an effective weapon, he's done it in the face of double-teams. His emergence makes Missouri incredibly dangerous down the stretch.
L'Damian Washington leads the Tigers in receiving with 680 yards and nine touchdowns on the season, which presents a problem for opposing defenses.
So what do you do?
Do you double-team DGB and leave Washington one-on-one? Do you sell out against the pass and let the Missouri ground game—which is the second-best rushing offense in the SEC (235.80 yards per game)—chew up yards?
There is no good answer to this riddle. Dorial Green-Beckham's breakout game is the biggest reason why, and the best is yet to come.
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