Top 5 Impact Newcomers for 2015

I continue our Mean Green Nation preview series with a look at the top 5 impact newcomers. A lot of the guys on this list are JUCO’s. These JUCO players fill and immediate need for NT and thats why I see them making an impact. Just because they are filling an immediate need doesnt discount the fact that these guys have talent. All of these guys where big time recruits for the 2015 recruiting class at NT.

5. DT DeMikal Henderson

MeanGreenSports.com Bio:

•  #25 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 List of recruits
• Top 50 prospect  in Oklahoma by 247Sports.com.
• Ranked #167 DT in the nation.
• SR stats – 70 tackles, 30 TFL, 11 sacks

Why we chose him:

For the second year in a row I’ve picked a FR DT to make an impact. I’m really banking on North Texas not red shirted this kid like they did with T.J Tauaalo. I believe that Henderson has enough talent to come in right away, and make the DLine rotation. I also believe he is talented enough to make a big impact. Henderson is a big athletic versatile DT that NT is in desperate need of. Henderson could really help in the run defense and could potentially see time as a DE in the 3-4 alignments that the Mean Green will deploy this season. Henderson will add beef to the middle of the defense and depth.

 

4. S James Gray

MeanGreenSports.com Bio:

• 3* rating on Rivals.com.
• 60 tackles and 4 interceptions, 11 ints in 2 seasons at Fort Scott
• Honorable mention JUCO All-American

Why we chose him:

NT has to replace a great hard hitting safety in Lairamie Lee. I believe they will turn to James Gray to fill Lee’s void. Gray is not the head hunter that Lee was, but he will be better in pass coverage. Last year NT was really thin at Safety. Gray can step in and play right away as part of the secondary rotation. Gray turned in a solid spring and has the edge in the battle for the SS starting spot.

3. QB DaMarcus Smith

MeanGreenSports.com Bio:

• 2,746 yards, 31 TDs, 8 INTs, 58.5 completion percentage, 178.2 QB Rating at Butler CC
• 4 * recruit coming out of high school. #11 Dual Threat QB by rivals
• As a senior, he threw for 3,150 yards along with 30 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions.
• 3* JUCO QB by Scout & Rivals
• In high school career Smith threw for nearly 8,000 yards and 75 touchdowns.

Why we chose him:

Sooner or later Coach Mac and his staff have to hit on a QB right? I think they might have found a good one in Smith. Regardless of what you see or read everywhere else Smith will be a factor in the race for starting QB. Smith may or may not start against SMU, but he will play this year. IF he comes in and wins the job he could end up leading NT back to a bowl game. A lot of what we know about Smith comes from his highlight package. Well, that highlight package blows away everything we’ve saw at the QB position last year.

2. LB Cortney Finney

MeanGreenSports.com Bio:

• 2014 Defensive Player of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
• NJCAA First Team All-American and the Southwest Junior College Football Conference Defensive Most Valuable Player.
• 104 tackles, 12 TFL, 3 Sacks, 4 Fumble recoveries

Why we chose him:

The 2015 Mean Green defense is in search of play makers and I believe Finney is a play maker. With Akunne gone this defense needs guys to step up at the LB position. Finney had a great spring showcasing his instincts and athleticism. He will battle Fred Scott for playing time, and he is capable of winning that battle. Dont be surprised when you see Finney end up with double digit tackles against SMU.

1. DE Jareid Combs

MeanGreenSports.com Bio:

• 3* rating on 247Sports.com
• Honorable mention NJCAA All-American in 2014 when he racked up 17 sacks, which was second in the nation.
• 50 tackles, 17 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
• 25 sacks in 2 seasons of JUCO play

Why we chose him:

I continue the theme of play makers on defense with Combs. I believe Combs comes in right away and will boost the NT pass rush to one of the tops in the conference. You put Combs on the field with the likes of Chad Polk, Tillman Johnson, and Jarrian Roberts and you get a potent pass rush. Combs should be a starter against SMU. Along with his ability to rush the passer he will help NT set the edge, which is something NT struggled with last year.

Mean Green Nation Preseason Preview Series

I’m no expert, but I enjoy putting together a decent preview for the NT football season. This year I’ve listed out what to look forward to in our Preseason Preview.

Previewing the North Texas Offense

Previewing the North Texas Defense

Top 5 Impact Newcomers

Schedule Breakdown

North Texas Player Ratings (Madden Style)

CUSA Power Rankings

CUSA Unit Rankings

CUSA Predictions

North Texas Stat Predictions

North Texas Bold Predictions