- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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Dorial Green-Beckham isn’t the first troubled wide receiver to get another chance with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.
In 2007, just two days before the Sooners’ season opener, freshman Ryan Broyles was arrested, accused of stealing gasoline from a Norman convenience store.
Stoops, however, didn’t give Broyles the boot, and opted instead to suspend him for the season.
But as it turned out, Broyles wasn’t a troubled kid. He was just a kid in trouble.
And after serving his time with Stoops, Broyles would go on to become a model student and citizen, a team captain and leader and the most prolific career pass-catcher in NCAA history.
The Sooners clearly viewed the high reward outweighed the high risk with Green-Beckham , and it’s actually not difficult to see why.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Green-Beckham was a significant part of the Tigers’ run to the SEC East championship last season. He led Missouri with 59 receptions and 12 touchdowns, including a school-record four receiving touchdowns against Kentucky. He also had 144 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the SEC championship game.
Green-Beckham is precisely the lone piece Oklahoma lacked offensively going into the 2014 season.
The Sooners have the most experienced returning offensive line in the league. They have a budding star at quarterback in Trevor Knight, who broke out in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. They have plenty of young talent at running back. And they have a go-to receiver in the slot in Sterling Shepard. But Oklahoma previously didn’t have a proven downfield threat on the outside. That’s exactly what Green-Beckham is. His seven red-zone touchdown catches, in fact, would have led the Big 12 last season.
The Sooners plan to petition the NCAA to make Green-Beckham eligible for the 2014 season via the run-off exception. The exception applies to student-athletes who don’t have the opportunity to return to their previous team for “reasons outside the control of the student-athlete (Oklahoma would also have to show Green-Beckham is in good academic standing, and Missouri would have to sign off on the eligibility request).
But it will be interesting to see how the NCAA interprets its own rule in the case of Green-Beckham. Was his dismissal from the Tigers football team really “outside his control?”
Twice before his dismissal at Missouri, Green-Beckham was arrested on marijuana-related complaints, though charges were never filed after the second arrest.
But the shoe only dropped on Green-Beckham after he was accused of breaking into the apartment of an 18-year-old female Missouri student while trying to see his girlfriend. The student told police that Green-Beckham also pushed her down at least four stairs. Green-Beckham was never charged with a crime, because, according to police, the women opted not to press charges.
But text message conversations released between Green-Beckham's girlfriend and the alleged victim painted the picture of a troubled kid, and not just a kid in trouble.
Green-Beckham has the talent (think Calvin Johnson) that could put Oklahoma over the top and into the College Football Playoff.
But he also has the baggage that could potentially stain Stoops’ sterling reputation of success with second-chance players like Broyles.
Violence against women on college campuses is a growing problem, and several noteworthy cases involving college football players in the last year have only amplified the epidemic.
Green-Beckham might or might not be on the field for games this season, depending on the outcome of the waiver. But either way, he will most definitely be on Oklahoma’s campus.
What message would it send if Green-Beckham were accused again of attacking a female student?
According to Oklahoma officials, Green-Beckham will be on a zero-tolerance policy. He will be regularly drug-tested. He will have mandatory counseling. He has been given the chance to turn his life around, both on and off the field. From Stoops to school president David Boren, the Sooners believe he can.
But with this troubled player, the risk is high.
Just like the reward.
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