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COLUMN: Why North Texas football should have hope of retaining, attracting future recruits

COLUMN: Why North Texas football should have hope of retaining, attracting future recruits

COLUMN: Why North Texas football should have hope of retaining, attracting future recruits
October 22
13:56 2020

North Texas continues to be a powerhouse for recruiting in Conference USA. Although the Mean Green has been one of the best-recruiting programs in their respective conference, they can be even greater, as head coach Seth Littrell once said in 2018.

The football program here at North Texas has been trending upwards ever since the arrival of Athletic Director Wren Baker in 2016.

Prior to Baker’s hiring, the Mean Green were trying to dig themselves out of the poor management that former Athletic Director Rick Villarreal had done. 

The program hardly received any media attention, could not string together back-to-back winning seasons and most certainly was unable to land solid quality recruits. This set the Mean Green back several years when it came to talent in the program. Many recruits did not want to play for a university that put little effort into their football program, especially a program with a losing culture.

Villarreal resigned in 2016, and since then, North Texas has been Wren Baker’s masterpiece. New facilities have been constructed, the program has a heavy focus on its branding and most importantly, a winning culture is starting to be established.

These new elements that Baker has brought to North Texas are all aspects that recruits look at when deciding where they want to play college football. No recruit wants to play for a program that has lackluster branding and media exposure, and the revamped athletic department is aware of this.

Over the past three years, North Texas has gone from having little depth in their recruiting charts, to having one of the best recruiting classes in C-USA. 

In 2018, the Mean Green finished eighth in the C-USA recruiting rankings. The following year the program jumped up four spots to finish fourth in the conference. This year, North Texas finds itself in second with an average rating of 83.27, only trailing Florida Atlantic for the best recruiting class in C-USA.

North Texas continues to land more and more 3-star recruits than ever before, as their recruiting classes continue to land quality recruits that will help the program be in an even greater place to play college football.

However, with this comes competition. The university is now competing with other big-name Group Five schools for more enticing recruits. North Texas’ competition for recruiting has now shifted from lower-tier Group Five conferences to higher tier conferences such as the American Athletic Conference.

While North Texas has been able to land several 3-star recruits this year, they have also lost many of those same recruits who end up decommitting shortly after committing to the university.

Although the Mean Green finally attracting quality recruits is a positive for the program, the university must be able to maintain these commits until they sign their letters of intent.

I feel like North Texas can improve on their recruiting and keep these quality recruits by offering these athletes opportunities they cannot get elsewhere.

Hiring “Mean” Joe Greene, an NFL Hall of Famer, to work for the football program as a coach or a scout, would do numbers for the team’s defensive recruiting. It’s not common for athletes to have the opportunity to work with one of the best defensive players to ever play the game of football.

Former North Texas quarterback Mason Fine was just recently hired to coach quarterbacks at Pawhuska High School in Oklahoma. If the Mean Green could bring Fine back into the athletic department to help with pitching to recruits, I feel this could also be enticing to many athletes who believe the grass is greener on the other side.

Fine left a legacy here at North Texas, and could most certainly be a role model to those who look to do the same in college, especially quarterbacks.

North Texas’ football program continues to climb the recruiting ranks. As the football program continues to receive quality recruits, their competition also increases.

While the university has done a good job of revamping its recruiting strategies, I feel they need to continue to adjust as they make their way up the rankings, or else the program will continue to miss out on great athletes.

Featured Illustration by Olivia Varnell

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Milo Mihaltses

Milo Mihaltses

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