UNT players get NFL shot

UNT players get NFL shot

May 06
19:43 2015

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The 2015 NFL Draft was this past weekend, but no one from the Mean Green football team was selected. The last time that happened was in 2004.

But, there were three Mean Green players that signed as undrafted free agents once all seven rounds were over. Whether they actually make their respective teams remains to be seen, but they will at least get a shot in training camp.

Derek Akunne, linebacker

Akunne signed with the Atlanta Falcons after the draft. The linebacker was the anchor of North Texas’ defense last year, leading the team and Conference USA in tackles with 108 while also registering three sacks.

Akunne was asked to step into the shoes of Zach Orr this season, after his gradution. Orr went undrafted last year, but was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens and was able to make the team and become a rotational linebacker for the Ravens. Akunne will now try to follow in Orr’s footsteps once again, this time in the NFL.

Cyril Lemon, offensive lineman

Lemon is on his way to the New Orleans Saints after going undrafted. He was a four-year starter on the offensive line for the Mean Green and was a team captain for the Mean Green last season along with Akunne. Lemon started every game he played in during his time with the Mean Green.

He and the rest of the offensive line were big factors in North Texas getting to and winning the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2014. He was also named to the All-Conference First Team that season.

Antonio Johnson, offensive lineman

Lemon is not the only North Texas offensive lineman to land with an NFL squad. His teammate, Antonio Johnson, signed a contract with the New York Jets.

Johnson, like Lemon, was a four-year starter on the offensive line and a key cog in helping block for the likes of Reggie Pegram, Brandin Byrd and even Lance Dunbar over the past few seasons. In 2013, he and Lemon were part of an offensive line that allowed just 11 sacks.

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