A shadow has been cast across Gawd's Country this morning, all because of a tall kid in high school...
Everyone here has been breathlessly following the exploits and machinations behind Hometown U's pursuit of football hotshot Dorial Green-Beckham. The 6-6, 220-pound receiver from Springfield, Mo., is the top-rated WR (and No. 3 prospect overall). Hometown U lusted after him, as did his homestate school, and big names like Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas. Just a few days ago, Hometown U. was considered probably the place he would choose to play, although Mizzou was making a late charge.
Half an hour ago, he chose Mizzou.
The backstory on this kid, who has been adopted by his white foster parents, is very Michael Oher (the kid in "The Blind Side" and now a pro with the Baltimore Ravens). He's had a tough early childhood, but football and his new home have given him some stability and security.
Against that backdrop, it's probably not that surprising that he chose a school close to home. As a football move, it's terrible. If DGB has aspirations of a pro career, they didn't grow that much today. He'd have a better fit in an offense that could showcase his considerable talent -- Hometown U might have been the best fit in the short-term, Oklahoma was also a good fit, and at Alabama, he'd have his name splashed across TV sets a dozen times or more a year.
Hometown U fans are almost beside themselves in missing out on this kid. He's a puzzle piece that was tailor-made for their title hopes in 2012.
But here's the thing Hometown U fans just don't get: It's not about them. No matter how bad they want it, just because they do does not mean a damned thing. The Hometown U fans kind of need to get a life. It's not that big a deal if a kid goes elsewhere. In DGB's case, the best choice for him as an athlete was probably to go to Alabama. The competition there is the best. The team is the standard of excellence. The coaching would prepare him as well as anywhere for a pro career. The football choice is not Hometown U.
Nor is it Missouri. If this was a business decision, DGB would be wearing red next season.
It's not necessarily an education decision, either. Any of those universities could have served this kid's needs. If he's bright enough, I'm pretty sure that he could have been offered a free ride at Stanford.
In the end, it appears that DGB's choice was made significantly because he felt safe close to home. He won't be winning any championships, but he will feel more at peace mentally. Given what the kid's gone through, can anyone blame him?
As a Hometown U alum and follower, I'd have loved to see the kid starring here this year. He'd have been a sensation. A lot of people here are rending their garments and gnashing their teeth at the news that DGB is going elsewhere.
Instead, the best move is to wish the kid the best of luck. Well, that, and be glad he at least didn't sign with Alabama.