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North Texas signs landmark recruiting class under Littrell

North Texas signs landmark recruiting class under Littrell

North Texas signs landmark recruiting class under Littrell
January 30
12:48 2019

The North Texas Mean Green football team has signed one of its highest-rated classes in the Littrell era. The Mean Green have been ranked No. 2 in Conference USA making a big leap from being ranked No. 9 the previous year according to 247Sports.

North Texas inked 25 recruits for its 2019 signing class, with 13 offensive players and the remaining 12 being defensive players.

The majority of the signees are rated as 3-star prospects. ESPN has graded 23 of the signees as 3 stars, two players as 2-stars prospects and the other being a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech.

The Mean Green will have holes to fill on both sides of the ball this spring due to graduating seniors. The key losses on the defensive side of the ball are linebackers Brandon Garner and Ejodamen Ejiya and starting cornerbacks Nate Brooks and Kemon Hall. North Texas will try to replenish the talent and skills that these players brought, as well as the leadership they provided.

Leadership was a big trait that was widely recognized among these four graduating seniors.

“Honestly, it’s the next man up,” junior safety Tyreke Davis said. “We’re using this time to see who’s going to step up and be the new leaders on the defense. When it comes to leaders, I can see Khairi Muhammad stepping up and taking that leadership role from within the secondary.”

Augmenting the secondary after losing two starters in Brooks and Hall to graduation was a priority in this recruiting class. North Texas added three defensive backs, including 3-star DeShawn Gaddie from Arlington Lamar. To mend the loss of linebackers Brandon Garner and Ejodamen Ejiya, North Texas signed a pair of 3-star linebackers out of Dallas’ Bishop Lynch High School – twins Gabriel and Grayson Murphy, both measuring at 6-foot-2-inches and 215 pounds.

The Mean Green defensive line also suffered losses after losing two starters to graduation. They reloaded the line with three signees, including Kenneth Dotson from Houston Lamar and junior-college transfer David Sow from Navarro Community College. According to ESPN, Sow was rated the No. 18 at the defensive end position among other JUCO recruits. North Texas was able to win over Sow despite offers from Oklahoma State and Colorado State.

 The offensive side of the ball is another story, as the cast from last season’s offense will relatively stay the same going into next season. Former North Texas wide receiver Jalen Guyton declared for the 2019 NFL Draft earlier in January. This leaves North Texas without its number two receiver and gives room for senior wide receiver Michael Lawrence and junior wide receiver Jaelon Darden to step up as the secondary wideout threat behind Bussey.

The Mean Green sought out to add depth to the wide receiving core with Bussey and Michael Lawrence in their final years with the Mean Green. The Mean Green were able to land four wideouts with the ranks of 3-stars. Despite other offers from multiple Power 5 and C-USA schools, North Texas inked Khatib Lyles from El-Paso, Kealon Jackson from Pearland, Texas and Damon Ward and Deonte Simpson, a pair from Beaumont West Brook.

“[Guyton] is a heck of a player, he’s explosive, and a great teammate, he had a great work ethic here,” junior quarterback Mason Fine said. “ I wish him the best going to the draft, and I know for sure he’ll give it his all and make his dreams come true.”

 Last season the Mean Green struggled with their offensive line play and protecting Fine. North Texas bolstered up the offensive line in this year’s recruiting class, adding size and experience in D’Andre Plantin, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech (6-foot-5-inches, 301 pounds). The three other additions include John Brunner from Brock, Texas (6-foot-5-inches, 300-pounds), Daxton Byers from Deer Creek Highschool in Edmund, OK (6-foot-5-inches, 295-pounds) and Chris Cassidy from Angleton, Texas (6-foot-4-inches, 275-pounds).

“After last season we graduated two guys [from the offensive line] but we have a lot of competition going into spring ball,” Fine said. “I’m sure [Plantin] is definitely looking forward to spring ball and I know he’s hungry for this opportunity to compete with the younger offensive lineman.”

The Mean Green also concentrated on securing a tight-end this year, inking one of the highest graded tight ends in the nation in Asher Alberding from Clear Lake High School. ESPN has Alberding ranked as the No. 26 tight end in the country.

“He’s a big body guy and after speaking with him, he seems to have the right mindset to fit our culture here at [North Texas],” Fine said.

Freshman running back Oscar Adaway from North Little Rock High School in Little Rock, Arkansas has been mentioned by several players on the team as a standout among this year’s recruits. When Mason Fine, Tyreke Davis and junior running back Deandre Torrey were individually asked to name a recruit that impressed them, Adaway was the common answer among the three upperclassmen.

“Oscar Adaway for sure, I’ve taken him under my wing because I know what it’s like coming in and not really knowing anybody,” Torrey said. “I’ve been getting to know him well and see him work out, he’s been working really hard.”

 Featured Image: Mean Green head coach Seth Littrell talks about the upcoming football season during DFW Media Day on Aug. 22, 2018. Image by: Trevon McWilliams.

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

Sports Editor

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