Dorial Green-Beckham says he’s ready to put everything he learned his freshman season to good use on the field.
Or to put it another way, as Tigers coach Gary Pinkel suggested, Green-Beckham might be on the verge of jumping to the “next level” that many thought he would be at as a freshman.
As the former Hillcrest Hornet prepares for his sophomore season in Columbia, Green-Beckham knows he’s about to take on a bigger role for Mizzou.
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“I’m more focused now, more experienced with these guys,” Green-Beckham said. “I’m learning each day I come out here, picking things up faster.”
Expectations were high last year for Green-Beckham, rated by some outlets as the top high school player in the Class of 2012. He finished his freshman season with 28 catches for 395 yards (fourth-best on the team) and five touchdowns (first on the team).
The Tigers’ offense was slowed with a mix of injuries and a jump to the SEC. Mizzou finished with a losing record and failed to qualify for a bowl game for the first time in eight years.
Green-Beckham began the spring as the second-string “X” receiver, behind senior Marcus Lucas, on the team’s depth chart. He’s back on the outside after playing in the slot as a freshman.
Pinkel described Green-Beckham as someone who had a “great” spring. He added that it can be difficult to predict when players will breakout.
“You look back at multiple players we’ve had, guys like Danario Alexander, and you say, ‘He’s a good player, he’s a good player… then all of a sudden he’s a different-level guy,’” Pinkel said. “Green-Beckham is showing that now. It happened to Michael Agnew and so many different players we’ve had.”
Green-Beckham and the Tigers will be running an offense guided by new coordinator Josh Henson, who took over after David Yost resigned in December. Henson has been MU’s co-offensive line coach since 2009.
"The way we move guys around, the way we have our offense going, I feel like it's a good spot," Green-Beckham said. "It's a good position for us receivers to get in and all of us to go out there and fight for (playing time)."
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver’s improvement has been noticed among the team. Green-Beckham was named MU’s most improved receiver during halftime of the spring game.
"As a freshman, that's big to be one of the most improved guys on the team that came in as a true freshman out there," Green-Beckham said. "I'm just trying to proceed from that and come out here and work hard."