Best Of The Best

Springfield Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 220, 4.4), the nation's top 2012 grid recruit, was expected to be the headliner at this weekend's Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Tournament at Shiloh Christian, but is missing it because of a hamstring issue.

No matter where he has been the last three years or where he will go as a senior, Dorial Green-Beckham was and will be the headliner.

The nation's top wideout and - a player many believe is the top player overall in the 2012 class - would have been the featured star of the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 that began Friday afternoon at Shiloh Christian, but is missing it because of a hamstring issue.

Green-Beckham (6-6, 220, 4.4) is the Springfield Hillcrest wideout with the NFL body who – in my humble opinion and many, many others – is destined to not only be a star in college, but in "The Show".

Arkansas – which had more wide receivers (4) named to the Blitnekoff Watch List on Thursday than any other school – would love to land him.

Razorback coach Bobby Petrino and his offensive assistants can no doubt see the young man being a star in their system – and in the SEC and nationally – from the moment he steps on campus.

With Arkansas having three seniors headed out the door after this season, Green-Beckham would step right in and form one of the nation's best duos with returnee Cobi Hamilton, whose presence would free the youngster to not be double-teamed.

Oklahoma, Alabama, Missouri - and every other major college football program you can name - is doing their best to haul in a young man who has been a household name in recruiting circles since he appeared on the scene in the ninth grade.

Some 50-plus college put offers on the table, but the four aforementioned schools seem to have an edge on the others.

What makes him so special?

It's the combination of size, speed, athletic ability and hands that just doesn't come around that often.

All of that has translated to over 4,000 yards receiving the past three years. If you need any stat to define his big-play ability, 51 of his career 181 catches have produced touchdowns.

I have racked my brain trying to come up with a better high school wide receiver that I have seen in person – and I just can't do it.

Having seen him play basketball – as has Razorback head football coach Bobby Petrino – I have no doubt that he would be a Division I standout in that sport if he so chose to be.

He's that good. He is the Real Deal.

This is also a young man who has lived through adversity and not only survived, but somehow thrived.

Green-Beckham is a St. Louis native that spent time in foster and group homes, never really having a true home environment until his head coach adopted him and his little brother Darnell in late 2009.

This wasn't what you might think – a coach adopting a great player to further his own success.

No, John and Tracy Beckham have adopted five kids – Rick, Sarah and Malachi, Darrell and Darnell - over the course of the nearly 30 years they have been married.

Their first biological child – Eliza Grace – came along in 2006.

Green-Beckham's older brothers – Vincent and Sam – actually were two youngsters taken in by the Beckhams for a time while the two younger brothers were in a foster home.

There is a strong, strong bond between those two younger brothers. It's one that has become even stronger recently.

That's because Darnell was diagnosed in February with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

After several rounds of treatment, he is now able to be treated in Springfield with the occasional trip back to Memphis, where treatment was intensive early.

Forget about recruiting, Darnell's diagnosis slowed life for all involved.

Now it has picked back up, but the nation's best and his family proceed with caution.

Soon football practice for the 2011 season will start. It is a campaign that will begin with an Aug. 27th telecast on ESPN when Hillcrest faces Seneca.

Green-Beckham will then make an appearance Sept. 1 at Razorback Stadium, a place he has taken in games over the past two seasons.

That will be for a match-up against Rogers Heritage as part of the Simmons First/ Kickoff Week.

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