Dorial Green-Beckham is the country's top football prospect, and recruiting fans across the country are following his every move. The Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest wide receiver has remained somewhat quiet during the recruiting process, instead keeping his focus on his team's season during the past few months. With Hillcrest's 2011 campaign now in the books, Green-Beckham began his tour of official visits last weekend with a stay in Austin as a guest of the Texas Longhorns.
The 6-6, 220-pound Beckham had been on the Texas campus previously when he and his family made an unofficial visit during the summer, so there was some familiarity with the UT program and the Texas coaches. According to Green-Beckham's father and Hillcrest head coach John Beckham, the official visit to Texas went well and UT made a favorable impression.
"We had been there this past summer. We came for a visit previously so it was lot of repeat of what we had seen earlier. But it's a great place, Austin is a great town," coach Beckham said. "Everybody was very hospitable. He had a really good time."
Texas did fall to Kansas State in its final home game on Saturday night due in part to a passing game that struggled, and the Longhorn coaches stressed to the five-star wide receiver that he'd have a chance to come in as a true freshman and help get things jump-started.
"Obviously, they're short of bodies at wide receiver. I couldn't really tell you the number or depth chart, but I know they were saying that going into spring practice, they're going to be short on scholarship wide receivers," coach Beckham said. "They're going to bring in several wide receivers this year and Dorial would have an opportunity to come in and compete for playing time right away."
Green-Beckham is the kind of rare talent that will likely play as a true freshman regardless of what school he chooses. Texas' ability to showcase a chance for early playing time is an attractive option, but it's not something Green-Beckham and his family have spent a lot of time discussing.
"It's not really something he talks about much. Of course, everybody wants to come in and play as soon as he can, and I'm sure he does too, but we're not studying depth charts and seeing who is coming in where or what wide receivers are going to which schools to find easiest road as far as competition," coach Beckham said.
During the visit, Green-Beckham had a chance to meet the current Texas players and spend some time with some of the Horns' recruiting targets and current commitments. The nation's top receiver spent quite a time with the nation's top running back, Longhorn commitment Johnathan Gray.
"The first impressions that you get from Johnathan Gray is that he's kind of a fun guy to be around, he's easy to be around. Dorial is the same way. It takes about an hour and then you'll be like best friends," coach Beckham said. "I know they had a good time and Dorial had a good time with other recruits there. That's just kind of fits his personality."
Up next, Green-Beckham will take an official visit to Oklahoma on December 16. The Sooners, along with Texas and Arkansas are programs expected to weigh heavily in Green-Beckham's final decision. The Longhorns made a strong impression on the visit, but a common train of thought is that proximity to Green-Beckham's home town could be a factor that's weighing against UT's chances. Coach Beckham admitted that distance is an issue that Texas would have to overcome if the Longhorns were to gain his son's commitment, but he said it's in no way a deal-breaker.
"I would say that's the biggest hurdle for Texas, the distance factor. Texas has everything to offer for Dorial as far as education, opportunities, opportunities after graduation and the football program itself. They have everything to offer any recruit. There are several schools that have that as well. The biggest negative for Dorial is that there is a distance," coach Beckham said. "It's obviously not a deal breaker or he wouldn't have made an official visit, but it's probably the biggest negative in viewing Texas. But there's a non-stop flight from Branson, Missouri, about 30 minutes south of here. The biggest thing as a parent is not so much not distance, it's about having relatively easy access and there is that."
A five-star prospect, Green-Beckham has been a mainstay atop the Rivals100 rankings. In late October, he broke the national high school receiving record.