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2017 National Signing Day Recap

National Signing Day came and went with few surprises. Tre’von Bradley did, in fact, get flipped by Houston, but even that was not very surprising considering the rumors after his visit with The Major.

Here is the class and some thoughts.

Jacob BrammerOL6'4"278Richmond, Texas (Foster HS)
Jaelon DardenWR5'9"160Houston, Texas (Eisenhower HS)
Tyreke DavisS5'10"194Denton, Texas (Billy Ryan HS)
Kody FulpLB6'2"225China Spring, Texas (China Spring HS)
Jalen GuytonWR6'1"190Allen, Texas (Trinity Valley CC)
Cameron JohnsonCB5'11"176Houston, Texas (John H. Reagan Heights HS)
Evan JohnsonRB5'6"175Loranger, La. (Loranger HS)
Tony KrasniqiDL6'1"249Sachse, Texas (Sachse HS)
Manase MoseOL6'1"306Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)
Dakoda NewmanOL6'3"329Benbrook, Texas (Mansfield Timberview HS)
Dion NovilDL6'4"240Abilene, Texas (Wylie HS)
Jevin PahinuiOL6'2"260Mountainlake Terrace, Wash. (College of the Siskiyous)
Brian ParishOL6'4"262Arlington, Texas (Seguin HS)
Cade PearsonQB6'2"193Texarkana, Texas (Texas HS)
Makyle SandersS6'0"188Tyler, Texas (Robert E. Lee HS)
Tre SiggersRB5'8"180Duncanville, Texas (Duncanville HS)
Chris ThorntonLB6'1"210Amarillo, Texas (Palo Duro HS)
Greg WhiteWR6'3"175Riverdale, Ga. (Riverdale HS)

Billy wrote a primer that covers most of the ins-and-outs coming into today that still holds up. Let us quickly assess some things about this class:

This Is Not A Public Relations Win

On NSD, there are three unofficial ways to win the PR campaign: 1. Flip a high profile recruit 2. Finish with high/top recruiting class 3. Sign the best class in school history.

In CUSA, our winners are 1. FAU — who signed Deandre McNeal, formerly of Texas and flipped from UCLA. 2. UTSA/FAU/FIU – UTSA had the top class all year, but FAU/FIU shot up the rankings in the conference 3. FAU/UTSA

Jalen Guyton is a good WR, and there is some talent here, but the other CUSA schools are going to get the hype.

Needs Were Met

North Texas lost three OL (Rice, Gunter, Keenan) and signed five in this class (plus a likely blueshirt). Littrell said OL and WR were the top priorities coming in, and that they wanted to get longer and bigger along the front. Harrell called it a ‘home run’ offensive line class. Brian Parish is 6’4″ 262, and Dakoda Newman is 6’3″ 329. There may be a starter among these five, and there should be at least one or two in the rotation early. Ideally, the lineman will get the time to develop, but NT could use contributors right away.

NT lost Thad Thompson, Kenny Buyers, and Tee Goree out wide. This was a from an already thin position group. Jalen Guyton is a playmaker and highlights the class. Greg White was a late target that brings some of the height that Goree had. Littrell mentioned that RB recruit Evan Johnson can play a little of slot WR, also.

RB Willy Ivery is also gone, and NT “got a couple [RBs] after this year that will graduate.” Getting two backs to fill out the depth chart here is solid.

Signed Another QB

Cade Pearson is taller than Mason Fine and probably has a bigger arm. This is good ‘competitive’ depth to have at the very least, and might be the guy at best. He is already on campus and is eager to learn. Having the tools and desire is a good combination. It will be interesting to see if Littrell sticks with his ‘Gotta play two QBs’ aphorism, when he has a couple of young QBs instead of the senior + exciting freshman. Pearson came in thinking he has a real chance to compete with Mason Fine and that makes the competition interesting. Also of note: Pearson’s noting of Graham Harrell’s resume.

There Will Be More

NT plans to blue shirt a couple more players, which likely will include more lineman and more LBs and DBs.

Final Thoughts

Ideally we would have liked to have seen a breakthrough class that got headlines. The good news is that NT has mostly hit on a good number of roster moves in the Littrell regime. From the JUCO signings before last season — Eric Jenkins especially — to Mason Fine and Tyler Wilson, generally speaking Littrell’s staff has a high rate of return.

The staff noted repeatedly the high number of quality character guys in this class. While that is an oft-repeated refrain, it is important considering some of the schools above NT in the 247 ratings signed some guys with questionable reputations. I realize this is the type of thing that mid-ranked teams say, but it is not untrue. Also not untrue: that if NT signed a highly rated class, everyone would be pointing to the number of stars.

Overall I like the fact that this class met the important needs. The OL was a sore spot, and the DL needed more bodies. The rest of the class is at worst a man-for-man swap. NT did not get worse and is taking steps to fill out the depth that is sorely missing. The real test of this class — like all classes — is if in three years or so it is mostly intact, with contributors among its ranks.

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