Last week, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops hinted that transfer wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was leaning toward returning to play for the Sooners next season after sitting out this year under NCAA transfer rules. As one of the nation's most talented receivers, it's in question because Green-Beckham would be eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft, even though he has yet to play a down for OU.
Sooners wide receivers coach Jay Norvell suggested that Green-Beckham's resolve to play at OU next year is even stronger.
"He's made a commitment to be here, he wants to go to school here and he wants to play football here at Oklahoma, so obviously we are going to help him improve here every day," Norvell said, according to news9.com. "This is not a year off for him, he's out there working every day, he's helping on the scout team and he's also trying to improve his skills as a receiver, as well as the off-the-field things, so it's an important development time for him."
Green-Beckham (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) was dismissed from Missouri in the spring for disciplinary reasons, and later transferred to Oklahoma. His appeal to have the NCAA transfer rule waived to allow him to play this fall was denied. If he doesn't change his mind and enter next year's draft, he'll play as a fourth-year junior for the Sooners in 2015.
Green-Beckham's year not playing, as much as anything, will be an opportunity to repair his image. After being twice arrested and twice suspended at Missouri over marijuana-related charges, his final legal entanglement -- a burglary investigation in which he was not charged, but accused of pushing a female down a staircase -- resulted in his ouster from the school. Because of Green-Beckham's track record at Missouri, OU would likely be less tolerant of any behavioral missteps, and his time at OU both on and off the field will be subject to plenty of scrutiny.
Both character concerns and his year away from the field would have a negative effect on scouting evaluations of Green-Beckham for the 2015 draft. As such, staying at OU next year and entering the draft in 2016 or 2017 figure to be the smart play.