North Texas Daily

Five North Texas football players named to Dave Campbell’s Midseason All-Texas Team

Five North Texas football players named to Dave Campbell’s Midseason All-Texas Team

Five North Texas football players named to Dave Campbell’s Midseason All-Texas Team
October 30
14:46 2018

The Mean Green (7-2, 3-2 Conference USA) are having a record-breaking year with their first SEC win since the 1980s over Arkansas, while also shattering school attendance records.

This season, North Texas managed to capture the attention of more than just the Denton area. In Dave Campbell’s newest release of their collegiate Midseason All-Texas Team, the Mean Green have five players listed as some of the top college football players in the country.

Head coach Seth Littrell said these five players have been outstanding this season and have been part of the reason why North Texas has been so successful over the past two years.

“They’ve been consistent, they’ve played extremely well and they deserve all of those opportunities that they are getting,” Littrell said. “I do believe within awards, you look at team awards. The more success you have as a team, the more rewards and accolades that are going to come about for everyone.”

Quarterback Mason Fine, wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. and kicker Cole Hedlund were named to the Midseason All-Texas Offensive Team. North Texas joined Texas and Texas Tech as the only schools to have three players on the Midseason All-Texas Offensive Team.

Only four of the 13 players from the Dave Campbell Preseason All-Texas Team made it onto the midseason team. One of those was Fine, who has thrown for 2,210 yards and 16 touchdowns through seven games. His 2,210 yards are ranked No. 5 in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA.

Fine took a humble approach when learning about the midseason award, giving credit to all of his teammates and coaches for putting him in a great spot to perform well.

“It just shows how good the coaches have done to make my job easy,” Fine said. “The players around me do the hard job. I just have to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands and they do all the tough work. All I have to do is catch the snap and throw it to them. Coaches do a great job of putting me in the right positions and my receivers and offensive line give me time.”

Another North Texas player that was listed on the preseason team was wide receiver Jalen Guyton, but he did not make the midseason team. Instead, his counterpart, Bussey Jr., was named for having some of the best statistics throughout the country. Bussey Jr. has 45 receptions for 573 yards and ranks No. 3 in the nation with eight touchdowns.

“It’s all a result of what I did in the offseason,” Bussey said. “[Guyton] pushed me to work harder this offseason and it is paying off.”

Hedlund was named to the Midseason All-Texas Offensive Team in just his first year with North Texas. He is a graduate student at the University of North Texas who spent the previous three seasons as a kicker at the University of Arkansas, whom North Texas beat 44-17 this year.

“Since I have got to Denton it has been incredible,” Hedlund said. “Having a fresh start and taking it day by day has resulted in me trying to be the best I can be.”

Hedlund burst onto the scene this season for the Mean Green, converting 13 of 15 field goals and 30 of 32 extra points. He hit his career-long field goal two weeks ago at Texas-El Paso when he drilled a 52-yard kick through the middle of the uprights to tie the game right before halftime.

“I’ve just been preparing the right way and taking it one day at a time,” Hedlund said. “Coach Biagi has been great thus far in helping me fine tune everything during the season and going over the right fundamentals.”

Slot receiver Michael Lawrence and offensive lineman Sosaia Mose were named to the second-team offense.

On the other side of the football, seniors E.J. Ejiya and Nate Brooks were selected to the Dave Campbell Midseason All-Texas Defensive Team. The Mean Green defense has arguably been one of the key components to winning this year, only allowing 19 points per game and intercepting 13 passes, which is currently tied for second in the nation.

Through eight games, Brooks leads the team and is tied for second in the nation with four interceptions. The other defensive backs joining him on the list are Caden Sterns and Brandon Jones, who both play for the No. 6 Texas Longhorns, and TCU’s Jeff Gladney.

Ejiya leads the team with 77 total tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss. He has been a key leader on a defense that is currently ranked No. 20 in the country in points allowed per game.

Ejiya, much like Fine, was humble and gave credit to the rest of his teammates. He said the defensive line has also done an incredible job of “taking up double teams” to free up space for himself to make the tackles.

“It’s truly an honor,” Ejiya said. “I have to give it to all other 10 guys on my defense. Without them, none of it would be possible.”

Featured Image: North Texas junior Mason Fine looks to pass the ball in a game against Southern Methodist University on Sept. 1, 2018 at Apogee Stadium. Quarterback Mason Fine was among the five honored. File.

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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