Oklahoma giving Green-Beckham an undeserved opportunity
JUL 03, 2014 3:54p ET
Missouri made the trek to Dallas for January's Cotton Bowl and brought high-profile, 6-foot-6, 225-pound receiver with them.
In May, Gilbert turned his half that projection into reality.
A month earlier, Green-Beckham was dismissed from Missouri after allegedly forcing his way into an apartment and pushing a female victim "down at least four stairs," according to a police report.
Green-Beckham's girlfriend later sent text messages to the woman and revealed she had been dragged out of the apartment by her neck. Green-Beckham's girlfriend also asked that the woman not press charges. She chose not to press charges.
No program seemed ready to claim the former national No. 1 recruit, whose career seemed to be teetering on unfulfilled potential ruined by off-the-field problems. Sources within three different Big 12 programs (not including Oklahoma) told me they had kicked the tires and done some homework on Green-Beckham, but none seemed anywhere close to making a risky commitment.
Three months earlier, though, as he prepared for the final game of his breakout sophomore season, Green-Beckham's public disciplinary file included just two drug-related offenses and he looked likely to be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
I asked around the Missouri program, mostly just curious what life looked like for a No. 1 recruit enrolled in a program that Gary Pinkel built around finding and developing talents bigger programs deemed unworthy.
Time and time again, a similar sentiment from sources around the program arose: He's as good as advertised, but the biggest thing holding him back is he knows just how good he really is.
When he was arrested in October 2012 in a car with marijuana, he knew he still had a long leash at Missouri. That's why, 15 months later, he was arrested under similar circumstances in him hometown of Springfield, Mo.
His final offense proved Pinkel's punishments hadn't reached him, and its serious nature provided a regrettable third strike and forced Pinkel to send the biggest recruit of his career and one of the best players in Missouri high school history out of the state.
Which brings us to today.
Green-Beckham doesn't deserve the head-scratching second chance that Bob Stoops and Oklahoma have given him. They were among the leaders in his recruitment the first time around, which is why they've landed him this time, but Stoops has operated his program with a strong arm toward discipline since he came to Oklahoma.
He booted starting quarterback Rhett Bomar a month before the 2006 season for working a sham job. He did the same in 2008 when four-star receiver Josh Jarboe released a music video on YouTube rapping about and flashing guns a few months after a weapons possession arrest.
He even suspended Ryan Broyles, who eventually became the NCAA's all-time leader for receptions, for an entire season after he got caught stealing gas as a freshman.
What Green-Beckham deserves is to spend a year at junior college or the Football Championship Subdivision out of the spotlight and focusing on football and education. He's gotten his chances at Missouri and wasted them.
Now, he gets another.
I've been a fan of college football for two decades and nothing leaves me shaking my head more than unfulfilled promise. Injuries are one thing. Stupidity is another.
Green-Beckham was given amazing physical gifts and talent that take about 15 seconds to recognize when you see him on the field.
This move doesn't make sense for Oklahoma, who doesn't necessarily need him after recruiting well at receiver the past few years. OU may not even get to use his services until 2015, barring an NCAA waiver that would make even less sense than the Sooners bringing him on campus.
Oklahoma's taking a risk--they don't know if his off-the-field issues are truly behind him or not--and will take a deserved PR hit for bringing in Green-Beckham.
He's got a lot to prove off the field to NFL teams who can't wait to make him a first-round pick but would have paused if he hadn't proven he could handle being a high-profile athlete at a high-profile program yet.
Oklahoma's given him a chance to rehabilitate his career at plenty of cost to itself.
Here's hoping, for a young man's future's sake, he proves the Sooners' puzzling decision ultimately prudent.
If not, he'll be one more head-shaking story of unfulfilled potential with only himself to blame.