Position Grade: C-
Depth Grade: F
New Comers: Alec Morris (Grad Transfer), Mason Fine (HS)
Returning: Connor Means (JR), Caleb Chumley (FR), DaMarcus Smith (SR), Quinn Shanbour (JR)
It’s another year and another spring QB competition for the Mean Green. Ever since Derek Thompson’s departure, UNT has been searching for a QB to stabilizing the position. This year the battle will look a lot different. These QBs will battle for the starting role in a QB friendly offense. Graduate transfer Alec Morris is the clear front runner. Morris was buried on the Alabama depth chart and was looking to move back closer to his home. Morris isn’t a guy defined as a play maker, but rather a guy that will make the right reads and protect the ball. He played in a similar style offense in high school. His high school tape along with an endorsement from the Bama coaches made Morris enticing to Littrell.
The real competition at the position may come for who is going to back up Morris. DaMarcus Smith showed promise last year, but really struggled with accuracy issues. Some would view him as a wild card in the QB competition. If Smith can grasp the new offense and improve his accuracy issues he could then end up challenging Morris for the starting role. Connor Means has remained a mystery for most of his time here at North Texas. Means flashed some ability in spring practices and games, but has yet to play in a live game. It was quite shocking to me that Means didn’t at least get a shot last year. He certainly couldn’t do any worse than what we witnessed last year. The intriguing part of Means game is his gunslinger mentality. He seemed to have a moxy about him that made me believe he was a gamer. Now Means doesn’t possess great arm strength or accuracy, but maybe he will flourish under new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
Quinn Shanbour is another mystery. A lot of fans have clamored for him after his performance in last year’s spring game. Let’s make one thing clear, if Shanbour has enough talent to be the starter at North Texas then this staff will give him his chance. This staff doesn’t care about size, they care about talent. That became clear with the recruitment of Mason Fine. Fine is small, but can play the game. His stats back that up. He also spent his high school career playing in an offense similar to the one that North Texas will run next year. That being said, Im not sold on Fine being a threat in the 2016 QB battle though. He won’t arrive on campus till the fall, and he really needs a year in a college strength program. Still it will be fun and interesting to watch his development at North Texas.
Overall I gave this position group a C- and F for depth because Morris is an unknown and there are a ton of question marks with the guys behind him. Smith actually has more game time than Morris, but can he function in an Air Raid offense? Other than those 2 who could Littrell and Harrell turn to? Of course Morris could come in and light it up like Sokol and Driskel did at La Tech. That is the best case scenario for this group. Worst case let’s not even discuss that.
2016 North Texas Pre-Spring QB Player Ratings