SPRINGFIELD, Mo. • Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's most wanted 2012 college football recruit, will play football for Mizzou.
The 6-foot-6, 220 pound wide receiver that Rivals ranks as the No. 1 overall college prospect in America made his announcement today during a 9:15 a.m. celebration at Hillcrest High School.
Green-Beckham, who was born in St. Louis and eventually adopted by the Beckham family of Springfield, was the main event of Wednesday's National Signing Day.
By 7:30 a.m., the satellite trucks were filling the parking lots at Hillcrest. He walked on stage in the gym by 9 a.m., dressed in a gray suit with black shirt and white tie.
He took to the podium by 9:15 (on schedule for ESPNU) and thanked family, friends and the Springfield community, then pulled a Mizzou hat out from a hiding spot beneath the table and placed it on his head.
In explaining his decision, Green-Beckham stressed the relationship he had built with Missouri coaches, a staff that has been interested in him since first seeing him at a high school camp when he was was 15 years old. He praised the personality and player relationships Missouri coaches have with their players.
"I felt like they've (Missouri) been there since day one," Green-Beckham said.
In his brief press conference following the announcement, Green-Beckham said Missouri's move to the SEC Conference was not a major factor in his decision. But he did agree that the SEC style of play seems to benefit NFL-bound receivers, and added that he was looking forward to helping Missouri make the transition.
Green-Beckham took his final visit last weekend, spending three days on campus at Missouri and meeting with the coaching staff and players one last time. After sleeping on his options Sunday night, told his adoptive parents, John and Tracy Beckham, that he wanted to go to Missouri on Tuesday morning.
"They felt real comfortable with my decision. After that, there were no questions asked."
Green-Beckham said he is glad the hectic recruiting process over.
"I'm really excited now because the process is finished," he said. "I can continue on with my life."
Asked what influenced his decision, Green-Beckham responded: "Just to stay home and have all these guys come out and support me."
His announcement ended a recruitment period that started brewing four years ago and gradually increased to near chaos this month.
Green-Beckham received his first scholarship offer from Missouri at the age of 15 — before he ever played a varsity football game. In the first game he started for Hillcrest, he took the first pass he caught for a touchdown, perhaps a sign of things to come.
Four years later, Green-Beckham ended his senior football season with 119 catches for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns. He currently holds the new national record for career receiving yards (6,356) and received the U.S. Army Player of the Year, Gatorade Player of the Year and Parade All-American Player of the Year awards.
Outside of football, he was the most valuable player on a 2010 Hillcrest basketball team that won a Class 5 state championship. In track and field, he claimed two individual titles (100-meter dash and triple jump) and one second-place finish (long jump).
After receiving scholarship offers from every competitive Division-I football program imaginable, Green-Beckham narrowed his list to five finalists in January. Before he made his announcement on Wednesday, his options were Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.
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Ritenour's Ray stiffs Mizzou for A&M
Defensive tackle Ed Ray of Ritenour High reneged on his verbal commitment to Mizzou and signed today with Texas A&M.
Ray, who is No. 6 on the list of Post-Dispatch Super 30 recruits, committed to the Tigers last July and made his official recruiting visit in December.
None of the national recruiting websites had mentioned A&M, or any other school, as a threat to Ray signing with Missouri.