For all the struggles this season, North Texas has still remained in the top-four of recruiting rankings. The Mean Green under Littrell have added talent on offense but have struggled to get impact dudes on defense. Now, that simply could be a scheme/coaching problem. After all, the Murphy twins were highly touted linebackers coming out of high school and have made the impact — just on the defensive line, where they are a bit undersized.
This thing is all about development. Finding guys that are going to run for TDs or get interceptions on Day 1 is rare. Finding the players that will grow into possible NFL Draft picks like Jaelon Darden, a three-star receiver four years ago is the plan.
We will recap the entire day later, but so far the commit list has these notables:
Bryce Drummond — 3 ☆ out of Pawhuska, OK. The Pioneer Kid is tall and put up numbers. The concern is that only Texas State and Tulsa wanted him. I generally trust the QB evaluation chops of the staff but while the aggregate QB play was fine, there were the obvious bumps in the road this season. Can he step in and win the job immediately? Not likely but sure, why not?
Gabe Blair — 3 ☆ out of Denton, TX. It is super-hard to keep guys in town. Denton always has talent but it is usually poached by bigger programs and the lure of keeping a kid in his hometown is a bit of a double-edged sword. It is easy to get in trouble when everyone from home is right there. Gabe had Colorado interested, Arkansas State (a good program) among two others. He’s a big center and North Texas has just reaped the fruits of its previous recruiting labor this season with one of the better performances in recent memory.
Bryson Jackson — 3 ☆ out of Blinn College. This was a little bit of a surprise as he was not on the recruiting lists. He is from Humble, TX and was recruited by Tulsa, and UNLV. He is quick, evasive and should fill in nicely in something approaching the role that Darden is leaving behind. Big shoes to fill, obviously. Adding him put NT in 3rd place in the running 247 ranking.
The real question marks have been on the defense. North Texas has brought in some talent in this area. Again, here are some guys of note, but not the full list. We’ll have another post about the full roster.
Harold West — 3 ☆ out of Arlington, TX. He is listed as a safety but as with any DB that means he will be asked to do something along all the positions in the defensive backfield. He is a bit slight, but showed good ball skills, a willingness to step up and make a tackle, and a hit.
Caleb Johnson — 3 ☆ out of Greenville, TX. This was the surprise that was teased on twitter I imagine. He wasn’t on the recruiting services lists, and he has an impressive offer list. Alex Grinch at Oklahoma was recruiting him. He’s listed as the 33rd ranked CB in the nation. Considering that’s where he’s best I figure he will play there. Given he was recruited to North Texas over some big time programs — OU and Alabama, I imagined Littrell offered him the chance to play wide receiver. I’m sure seeing Darden tear up the record book helped in that case.