Odds are that Dorial Green-Beckham will take the field at the Edward Jones Dome one day. Barring illness or injury Green-Beckham, the toprated prep football prospect in the country, will make a living playing the game he loves on Sundays. But he shouldn’t have to wait until he’s in the National Football League to grace the Ed’s field.
He should be paraded onto that field Friday or Saturday at the Missouri state football championships and given the recognition he deserves. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Green-Beckham isn’t just the No. 1 football prospect in the nation, he’s the best player to ever pull on pads and a helmet this state has ever seen.
His numbers tell the story. When Green-Beckham and his teammates at Hillcrest High School in Springfield were throttled 49-0 last week by Webb City Green-Beckham’s prep career came to an end. During his four years on the Hornets’ varsity roster he did the following—set the national record for most receiving yards in a career (6,367), set the state record for most receiving touchdowns in a career (73) and set the state record for most receiving yards in a single game (354). He set the state record for most receiving yards in a season as a sophomore (1,616) and broke it as a junior (1,714) and broke it again as a senior (2,244).
He did his best work on the football field but was a dynamic presence no matter the season. In the winter, he plays for the Hillcrest basketball team. As a sophomore, he played a large role in the Hornets winning their second state championship as he averaged 18.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. In the spring, he runs track. As a sophomore, he won state championships in the 100-meter dash, triple jump and was second in the long jump, despite not dedicating himself fully to these technically intense events because of his football commitments.
Green-Beckham has accomplished all of this while being dealt an incredibly difficult hand in life. He was born here, in St. Louis. He doesn’t know his biological father. His mother was unable to care for him and his five siblings. They moved between Springfield and St. Louis. Their living situation was, to be blunt, brutal.
That’s when John Beckham and his wife, Tracy, stepped in. The Beckhams have been foster parents since the late ’80s. They have had over 20 foster kids come through their home. They have five adopted children. Dorial and his younger brother, Darnell, came to live with them when Dorial was 13. The Beckham’s adopted them both. John is the head football coach at Hillcrest.
Though not as tall as Dorial, Darnell is an outstanding athlete. His best sport is basketball. Darnell had the look of a prospect who could go big time. Then in February, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The prognosis is good, but his basketball dreams have been put on hold.
Even while his brother was receiving treatment for his cancer, Green- Beckham continued to be recruited by every powerhouse football program, be it Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, etc. He could make one phone call and get a scholarship to whatever program he wants. He’s that sought after.
Through all the ups of his athletic achievements and the tough family times, Green-Beckham has handled them with a maturity beyond his years. Even after his career came to an end against Webb City, he posed for photos and signed autographs. He’s been an ambassador for his school, his community, his family and his state.
Let’s hope the Missouri State High School Activities Association does the right thing and honors him at the state championships Friday and Saturday. He’s earned it.
DAVID KVIDAHL HAS COVERED HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS FOR 10 YEARS AT SUBURBAN JOURNALS AND STLHIGHSCHOOLSPORTS.COM. CONTACT HIM AT DKVIDAHL@STLTODAY.COM. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @STLPREPSCRIBE.