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October 27, 2011

Green-Beckham breaks receiving record

In a stunning display of skill and showmanship, Dorial Green-Beckham of Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest High, showed why he's the nation's No.1 recruit and the nation's all-time leading receiver on one play during his school's 35-7 victory over Republic Thursday night in Springfield.

Green-Beckham, who needed just 62 yards to break the career yardage mark coming into the game, was 22 shy when his team took over at its own 19 late in the first half.

He quickly showed why he is coveted by every major program in the country while drawing comparisons to the best receivers in the NFL.

Green-Beckham grabbed a 5-yard pass over the middle and then went to work. He broke a few tackles to get enough yards for the mark, then refused to go down - racing all 81 yards for a touchdown.

"I was really excited to have it on the play with the long run.," he said. "Breaking the record, that's the first thing that I thought after I caught that pass. I just did the best that I could to try to get into the end zone."

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The yards on the play pushed Green-Beckham passed Abram Booty, who had 5,867 yards for Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, La., in 1993-96.

By game's end, Green-Beckham had 11 catches for 305 yards and four touchdowns to push his career total to a new record 6,111 receiving yards.

"I'm really excited to have this record in my name for however many years," he said. "This is one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to me."

And make no doubt, there has been a lot of excitement around the 6-6, 225-pound receiver.

Green-Beckham is not only the top recruit in the Rivals 100 this season, he is considered one of the top prospects to come out of high school in the past 10 seasons.

Rivals.com national football analyst Mike Farrell, who has been judging prospects for years, certainly is impressed.

"He is like a cross between [NFL players] A.J Green and Julio Jones, he's got the agility, athleticism and body control of Green and the power, strength and ability to shrug off tackles like Jones," Farrell said.

Extra attention doesn't seem to be a problem either.

Despite facing double- and triple-team coverage all season, Green-Beckham finished the regular season with 98 catches for 1,988 yards and 21 touchdowns.

How good has he been? Last night's effort wasn't even his best for the season. He had 13 catches for 354 yards and four touchdowns in one game earlier this month.

For his career, Green-Beckham now has 30 games of at least 100 yards receiving and 21 games with at least two TDs. Both totals could grow.

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Hillcrest, now 9-1, will compete in the Missouri playoffs starting next weekend.

And while Green-Beckham's high school career is coming to a close, his football life is just beginning.

He has scholarship offers from roughly two dozen major Division 1 colleges. Nearby Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas all our believed to be among the favorites, but after the game, Green-Beckham said he hasn't scheduled any official visits and has no timetable for an announcement.

"I just want to see what goes on from now," he said. "I want to see if I have open time to take those visits. There's not a lot of time left but I'm going to take my time and do it right."

Last night's record was the second major receiving mark Green-Beckham broke this season. Earlier this fall, he became the all-time leader in touchdown receptions. He now has 69 - well past the previous mark of 59.

But despite all of his talents, Green-Beckham doesn't figure to get the third major record - career catches.

His effort against Republic gives Green-Beckham 276 catches for his career. And while he'll likely catch Green for 6th place all-time, he is far behind the 329 receptions Christopher Fulmer had for Nitro (W.V.) High in a career that ended in 2005.

With a long playoff run, Green-Beckham could become just the fourth player to reach 300 catches. After Thursday night, there seems to be little he can't do.

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