North Texas Daily

Quick Hits: Football’s recruiting class thus far

Quick Hits: Football’s recruiting class thus far

North Texas junior quarterback DaMarcus Smith (10) looks left after the snap before he threw a touchdown pass to Carlos Smith against WKU. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

Quick Hits: Football’s recruiting class thus far
January 25
18:28 2016

Brady Keane | Staff Writer


As National Signing Day quickly approaches on Feb. 3, the Mean Green and new head coach Seth Littrell have been busy trying to put together a recruiting class that will give the team a chance to compete in Conference USA next season. With a little more than a week left to recruit, here is a look at what the Mean Green have lined up for National Signing Day, in addition to the midterm transfers that have been added to the program.

Verbal commitments are non-binding, and can change until the recruit signs a National Letter of Intent on February 3.

Midterm Transfers

Quarterback, Alec Morris – Alabama

Morris graduated from local powerhouse Allen High School in 2012 and was ranked as the No. 26 pro style quarterback in that recruiting class by 247 Sports. Morris threw for 3,242 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior at Allen but has spent the last three years as a backup at Alabama after failing to beat out Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman.

Morris is gives Littrell another option at a position the team has struggled at since the departure of Derek Thompson. Morris will compete with DaMarcus Smith, who led the Mean Green in passing last season after starting six games while throwing for 1010 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Defensive tackle, Bryce English – Kansas State

After graduating from DeSoto High School, English chose Kansas State over offers from Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas, and the University of Houston. The 5’11, 295 lb defensive tackle spent last season as a red-shirt but decided to transfer to North Texas after his father was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer.

English was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and will be a key part of the Mean Green defensive front in the coming years.

Offensive lineman, T.J. Henson – Trinity Valley Community College

The recruitment of Henson was a wild ride… The 6’5 305lb offensive lineman was originally verbally committed to Nevada University, before de-committing and verbally committing to Eastern Carolina University in late November. Finally, Henson committed to the Mean Green and signed a Letter of Intent on December 16.

After graduating from Plano East High School, Henson played offensive line for the Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals for the last two seasons. Henson will join returners Chris Miles, Kaydon Kirby, Sam Rice and Jordan Murray on the offensive next season.

Defensive end, Joshua Wheeler – Tyler Junior College

Wheeler graduated from South Grand Prairie High School before going to Tyler Junior College and joining the Apaches. Wheeler led his team and the conference in sacks with 16 last season, finishing the year with 49 tackles.

The Mean Green return three defensive ends that started five or more games last season: Jarrian Roberts, Malik Dilonga and Andy Flusche. Even with depth at the position already, a play-maker like Wheeler certainly provides even more options up front.

Defensive end, Joseph Ozougwu – Alief Taylor (Gray-shirt)

After graduating from Alief Taylor High School, Ozougwu passed on several opportunities at smaller colleges and universities (FCS, Division II, Junior college) to accept a gray-shirt offer from the Mean Green. A gray-shirt offer, according to Jeremy Crabtree of ESPN, is a delayed version of a red-shirt. Basically, Ozougwu joined the program this month after signing a letter of intent last February and still has all of his eligibility remaining.

Ozougwu has been out of football for a year but said last year he would be spending time focusing on improving his speed and size. The defensive end graduated high school at 6’3 205lb and, like Wheeler, will provide the Mean Green with more depth on the defensive line.

Verbal Commitments

Defensive back, Dee Baulkman – Arizona Western Community College

After spending two years at Arizona Western Community College, North Texas was the only FBS program to offer Baulkman. The defensive back is a play-maker at both safety and cornerback. He racked up 56 tackles, five tackles for loss and an interception last season.

Wide receiver, Rico Bussey – Lawton, OK

Coming out of Lawton, Oklahoma, Bussey had 10 offers from schools across the country ranging from Lousiana-Lafayette to Navy, but he ultimately chose to sign with the Mean Green. Bussey was an integral part of the offense at Lawton Eisenhower over the last few years, accounting for almost 3,000 total yards and more than 20 touchdowns.

Athlete, Deion Hair’Griffin – Arlington Heights (Fort Worth), TX

Deion Hair’Griffin, like Johnson, was a dynamic quarterback in high school but is undersized for the position at the collegiate level. Hair’Girffin will likely play with the Mean Green as a slot receiver and kick returner and has shown play-making ability to make an impact. The former Arlington Heights star was named the MVP of District 7-5A in 2014 after accounting for 38 touchdowns.

Athlete, Khairi Muhammad – Desoto, TX

Muhammad is one of the most recent commits for Littrell and the Mean Green offense, verbally committing on Sunday after playing for DeSoto last season. Muhammad was the fifth leading receiver for the Eagles last season with 270 yards and two touchdowns, while also playing in the secondary defensively.

Wide receiver, Chase Cokley – Westlake (Austin), TX

After playing with quarterback UT-commit Sam Ehlinger for the last two years at Austin Westlake High School, Cokley committed to the Mean Green in September of 2015. The 6’1 180 lb. receiver racked up 1,284 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior in Westlake’s high powered offense. He could provide depth at wide receiver for the Mean Green, as the offense loses top receiver Carlos Harris to graduation and potentially Darvin Kidsy due to his recent arrest.

Quarterback, Mason Fine – Locust Grove, OK

At Littrell’s introductory press conference, he mentioned that the Mean Green would be going after a quarterback for every recruiting class. After committing on Monday night, Fine should be the guy for 2016. His stats in high school speak volumes, as Fine set the Oklahoma all-time state passing record last season and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma in each of the last two seasons. Over the last two years, the Locust Grove star threw for 9,233 yards and 124 touchdowns, and ran for 1164 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The only statistic that held Fine back from bigger programs was his size, as the QB is listed at 6′ ft. and 170lb. However, Littrell has been a part of offenses’ that have found success with smaller quarterbacks in the past, as Cody Hodges (Texas Tech) and Tre Roberson (Indiana) both started at QB and were listed at 6′ ft. The Mean Green have both Alec Morris and DaMarcus Smith for next season, but Fine is a playmaker that could develop for the future of the offense.

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