NCAA Football News

If Dorial Green-Beckham Can't Play, Who Becomes Missouri's Go-To Player?

Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham just can't seem to stay out of trouble, and this time, his playing status is in doubt.

The 6'6", 225-pound rising junior for the Tigers was suspended indefinitely by the program for violation of team policies, according to a release sent via email by Missouri on Monday afternoon.

It's the third time in his career Green-Beckham has been in trouble publicly. He was arrested along with two other men earlier this year for possession of a controlled substance. That incident is still under investigation, according to Tod Palmer of the Kansas CityStar. He was arrested in 2012 for suspicion of possessing 35 grams or less of marijuana and pleaded the charge down to misdemeanor trespassing. 

Is his suspension related to the most recent arrest? He is the subject of an ongoing investigation according to Palmer, but the specifics of that investigation are not known.

Pinkel commented on the suspension in the release.

It’s been disappointing to have this, and other issues which have taken place lately. It’s frustrating, because we work very hard to instill responsibility and discipline in our young men so that our program represents Mizzou the right way. These actions aren’t representative of those expectations, and we are addressing these issues head on.

Whatever the reason, or reasons, for his suspension, it's clear that Missouri and head coach Gary Pinkel felt that the time is right to distance themselves from the star receiver.

Green-Beckham caught 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns last season during Missouri's magical run to the SEC East title. In the SEC Championship Game versus Auburn, he caught six passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns and was arguably the best player in the building—a building that included former Auburn running back Tre Mason, who rushed for about five miles (OK, 304 yards and four touchdowns).

So who will step up for the Tigers?

L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas exhausted their eligibility last season, so if Green-Beckham's issues keep him out of a game or games this season, a lot of pressure will fall on 6'2", 210-pound senior Bud Sasser. Sasser caught 26 passes for 361 yards and a touchdown last season and was listed as the starting "Y" receiver on Missouri's pre-spring depth chart.

While Sasser has the experience and likely would take on more of a leadership role, finding a replacement at Green-Beckham's "X" spot is more important. Junior Wesley Leftwich, 6'1", 200 pounds, was listed as his backup before the spring, and Darius White, J'Mon Moore and Jake Brents—all of whom are 6'3"—are candidates to slide over to that spot.

That trio of tall receivers could be the cure to the Green-Beckham conundrum. White had 65 yards and a touchdown in Missouri's first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, while Brents had three catches for 39 yards and Moore caught four for 31 yards, according to stats released by Mizzou

There are options for Pinkel if Green-Beckham's suspension lingers, and having a crowded group of tall receivers at the "Z" spot makes it easier for him to plug the holes if he loses his star for a prolonged period of time.

The good news for Missouri is that there are options. Russell Hansbrough, Marcus Murphy and Morgan Steward are all talented running backs. If Green-Beckham's issues keep him from playing, the Tigers could become more of a ground-and-pound team—as was the case in 2011 when they finished ninth in the nation in rushing (243.46 YPG). Toss in the dual-threat capabilities of quarterback Maty Mauk, and there's a recipe for success on the ground in Columbia.

Make no mistake though, Green-Beckham is the most talented wide receiver in the SEC. If he can't get his head screwed on straight, he could be what prevents the Tigers from repeating as division champs in the wide-open SEC East.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and suspension information were obtained firsthand via release from the University of Missouri, and all statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com.

 


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Medical, NFL Draft Prognoses for Brandon Thomas Following His Torn ACL

Devastating news made its way through the NFL draft community on Monday when ESPN's Adam Caplan reported former Clemson University guard Brandon Thomas suffered a torn ACL last week.

The injury comes as quite a shock, as many experts projected Thomas to be a potential early-round talent in the 2014 draft.

While there is not yet reason to panic—athletes routinely recover from ACL reconstruction surgery without complications—Thomas will almost certainly miss most or all of the 2014 NFL season. Additionally, the unfortunate timing of his injury—just over one month prior to the draft—casts doubt over his competitiveness in this year's field due to his presumed absence next year.

After all, despite the relative frequency of ACL injuries in football, the recovery time remains long. Most of the time, an athlete will need well over six months of rehabilitation—and sometimes over a year.

Furthermore, not all ACL injuries heal without issue. For instance, if an ACL tear comes with other ligament or cartilage damage, rehab becomes much more complicated.

Luckily, at this point, no news of additional injuries exists, so it seems safe to assume Thomas suffered a non-contact ACL injury—though precise medical details are still scarce.

Often, non-contact ACL tears occur when an athlete jumps and lands awkwardly on one leg or sharply plants his or her foot in an attempt to make a cut. If the knee twists inward too far—the exact type of motion the ACL tries to prevent—the ligament can tear.

On the other hand, contact ACL tears frequently involve a hit to the outside of the knee that forces it to bend inward. The MCL or meniscus—or both—also suffers damage in a large portion of contact injuries.

Following a tear, an athlete may still be able to move forward in a straight line, but when he or she attempts to cut or change directions, the knee may buckle inward—not a good recipe for a budding offensive lineman in the NFL.

ACL tears almost always require reconstructive knee surgery. During the operation, an orthopedic surgeon will actually replace the torn ligament with a piece of the athlete's own hamstring tendon. The tendon then serves as the new ACL and, over the weeks and months that follow, the body cements it into place within the knee.

Thomas will almost certainly undergo surgery soon—if he has not already. By the time the draft rolls around, he will then likely be working through the initial stages of rehab—such as quadriceps strengthening and range-of-motion exercises—but not yet weight-bearing or agility drills.

In other words, NFL teams will be able to gauge his very early progress prior to the draft, but his ultimate outcome will remain a mystery for at least a few more months—as opposed to ACL tears from several months ago during the prior college football season, for instance.

That degree of unknown may make teams shy away from calling him to the podium early on draft weekend.

What's more, if a team originally ranked Thomas highly because he could address an immediate need on the offensive line, this injury might cause his stock to fall significantly with that particular squad.

That said, if Thomas' injury is, indeed, a run-of-the-mill non-contact ACL tear—and if his recovery proceeds uneventfully—his prognosis is still likely excellent in the long run. With that in mind, a team with a goal of addressing long-term needs on the offensive line may still draft him in the middle rounds.

In the end, his draft stock depends—as always—on a combination of medical and football risk-versus-reward analyses by each of the 32 NFL teams, and every team and medical staff might value him differently. Some may downgrade him a round or so, and others may take him off the board entirely.

Fortunately for Thomas, however, it only takes one.

 

Dr. Dave Siebert is a resident physician at the University of Washington who plans to pursue fellowship training in Primary Care (non-operative) Sports Medicine.

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Bleacher Report's Top 25 College Football Tailgating Schools for 2014

College football is about so much more than just the game.

While  football is the main reason why upwards of 100,000 people (sometimes more) congregate on Saturdays between late August and early December each year, the game serves as only one piece of the puzzle.

If college football games were part of a meal, it would be the main course. But it's the courses that lead up to the entree—and the accompanying beverage pairings—that often separate one dining/game-day experience from another.

Yes, we're talking about tailgating—the age-old practice of setting up temporary camp near a football stadium and usually spending more hours in that festive party atmosphere than at the game that drew us there.

Every school has its tailgating traditions, practices and approaches, but some stand out from the pack. Here's our completely unscientific ranking of the top 25 college football tailgating schools for the 2014 season.

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