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Recruiting class adjusting to rigors of North Texas football

Recruiting class adjusting to rigors of North Texas football

Recruiting class adjusting to rigors of North Texas football
August 25
08:57 2015

Clay Massey | Staff Writer


Adjusting to new surroundings can be difficult for any college freshman. But the upperclassmen on the North Texas football team are making sure the team incorporates a family atmosphere for new players.

Members of the 2015 football recruiting class now have a majority of summer practice under their belts with their new teammates and coaching staff. The adjustment to an NCAA program is a test every newcomer has to deal with.

“Everyone has trouble adjusting,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “I’ve never seen anyone make an easy adjustment from high school to division one. The expectations academically, physically and representing the program in a class manner is a real transition. Things come so much faster. College is faster than high school.”

Still, McCarney is impressed by the freshman he and his staff recruited last year.

“I like this class,” McCarney said. “I said it in January, and I’m saying it now that we’ve got them all here. This is an excellent group of kids we signed.”

Two true freshmen in particular have stood out to McCarney so far: defensive tackle Roderick Young from Dekaney High School and wide receiver D’Aundrey Bradley from Cedar Hill High School.

Bradley received second team All-District 8-6A honors at Cedar Hill. Young also received all-district honors and was named to his respective all-district team with 32 tackles and three sacks in his senior season.

“If Young stays healthy, there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to play,” McCarney said.

Many of the upperclassmen have taken the responsibility of helping the newcomers adjust to the intensity spike from high school or junior college to North Texas.

Junior offensive lineman Kaydon Kirby is one who has taken a leadership role toward the younger players.

“Sometimes they don’t know what’s going on so you have to take them under your wing,” Kirby said. “But at the same time we know they’re going through a hard time. They’re tired and trying to adjust to a division one football program. They have to know they can look up to us veteran guys.”

Redshirt freshman defensive back Cedric Fernandes has another reason to be excited for the upcoming season. Fernandes missed all of last season with a knee injury, but said the chemistry between he and the defensive backs is something he has never seen before.

“It has not really been that hard adjusting, as our chemistry is on a whole other level,” Fernandes said. “We’ve been together through winter, spring and summer. We have a group message where we’re always talking and being accountable for each other. It’s been easy jumping back into this.”

One of the defensive backs Fernandes is competing with at strong safety is junior college transfer James Gray.

Gray, who transferred from Fort Scott Community College, earned honorable mention on the JUCO All-American team with 60 tackles and four interceptions last season.

Like many others in the 2015 class, Gray has found ease adjusting to North Texas because of the support of his teammates.

“There’s a lot of talented guys in JUCO, but the schemes are different here,” Gray said. “So I found it a little difficult at first. I built a lot of chemistry with some guys in JUCO, and I felt like I was at home. When I came here, everyone made me feel like I was at home as well. I feel like this is home.”

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