On Saturday, Missouri held their annual Junior Day, and the Tigers hosted more than 80 high school football prospects from near and far. Among those in attendance was 2014 WR prospect Darnell Green-Beckham 6’5” 180 Springfield (MO) Hillcrest, who verbally committed to Missouri during his visit. ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Green-Beckham afterwards, and Darnell, the younger brother of current Missouri WR Dorial Green-Beckham, shared with us some of his thoughts about becoming a Missouri Tiger.
“I was really shocked at first,” said Darnell Green-Beckham. “I went into Coach Pinkel’s office, and he called me back privately. And, he told me that my offer still stood, and I committed right there on the spot………………………………… It was probably one of the happiest days of my life!”
“Darnell’s had a (Missouri) offer for quite a while,” stated John Beckham, Darnell and Dorial’s father and high school coach. “I’m not exactly sure when he first received the offer. I do remember that during Coach Pinkel’s home visit with Dorial, before Dorial committed to Missouri, that Coach Pinkel spoke to Darnell and let Darnell know that his offer was not contingent upon where Dorial decided to go; that if Dorial decided to go somewhere else, that Darnell still had an offer to Mizzou. That was at least a year or so ago. On Saturday (at Missouri’s Junior Day), Coach Pinkel re-iterated to Darnell that the offer still stood………………………………………….. That’s all Darnell wanted to hear.”
“We haven’t had any contact with Arkansas and Oklahoma since Dorial chose Missouri,” said Coach Beckham. “(It was our understanding) that the only offer (for Darnell) that was still on the table was Mizzou.”
“Before his illness, there was no doubt that Darnell was going to be a high-level player,” said Coach Beckham. “Then the kid gets leukemia, and everybody kind of closed the book on him. It’s just awesome that Coach Pinkel stuck with him, and is going to give him the opportunity to fulfill his dreams. The kid lost a lot that day when he was diagnosed with leukemia. It’s just awesome that Coach Pinkel’s going to give him the opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing.................................................... We're super-appreciative of Coach Pinkel.”
Coach Beckham said that Darnell continues to undergo chemotherapy.
“He’ll receive his last (weekly) treatment on September 11th,” explained Coach Beckham, who said that he doesn’t expect Darnell to be as big as his brother, but will probably play football in college at around 210 pounds. “He gets better each week………………………………. His sophomore year, he did not participate in athletics. He just wasn’t physically able to. Last fall (junior season), Darnell played football. I’d say he was probably 50%-60% as far as physically what he was able to do prior to his illness, as far as his ability to run and jump. He just wasn’t as explosive as what he had shown as a freshman.”
Coach Beckham said that Coach Pinkel has given Darnell the option of coming to Missouri in the summer of 2014, or in January of 2015, if Darnell needs the additional time to physically recover from his bout with leukemia, which John Beckham said “is in remission”.
“We’re in off-season workouts now,” explained Coach Beckham, talking about Darnell’s current physical recovery. “You know, every day, I can see more and more of that athleticism that he had before his illness, you know, his ability to run and jump. Every day, I kind of see it returning……………………………………….. It’s coming back. It’s just going to take time.”
“His weight has fluctuated,” explained Coach Beckham, who said that Darnell’s weight has fluctuated between 165 and 190, but has been around 175-180 of late.
Darnell Green-Beckham said that the decision of when to come to Missouri will depend on how his body responds over the next year-and-a-half. He’s currently working out with his Hillcrest teammates.
“I’m getting back to my normal speed, not quite what it used to be,” said Darnell Green-Beckham. “It’s getting there.”
Darnell Green-Beckham said that he enjoys being around the Missouri football players, and that he’ll be visiting Missouri this spring whenever he can. He said that he hopes to get his weight up to around 200 pounds by the summer of 2014.
"It's been a tough road for him the last two years," said Coach Beckham, who said that Darnell is currently back to "about 70%". "I kind of see him, when he's healthy, and he's back, ready to go, he's going to be a six-five, 210-pound wide receiver."