North Texas Daily

Round Table: The Daily sports staff responds to the high number of football transfers

Round Table: The Daily sports staff responds to the high number of football transfers

Round Table: The Daily sports staff responds to the high number of football transfers
January 22
13:57 2021

Last week the North Texas football program lost numerous players to the transfer portal. Notable players entering the transfer portal who had significant playing time in 2020 include sophomore starting quarterback Jason Bean, junior running back Tre Siggers, junior receiver Greg White, senior safety Makyle Sanders and senior defensive back Cam Johnson.

The 2020 season was filled with the task of the program implementing Conference USA’s three COVID-19 testings per week, limited practices during the summer and the NCAA did not allow Division I schools to host on-campus recruiting throughout the fall.

For the second straight year, North Texas finished under .500 with a (4-6, 3-4 C-USA) record but earned a bowl berth for the first time since 2018, falling to Appalachian State 56-28.

The act of North Texas players entering the transfer portal came subsequently after the parting ways of former defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, cornerbacks coach Clay Jennings and defensive line coach Eric Mathies within a span of two weeks. Defensively North Texas finished last in C-USA in the four major team defensive statistic categories including scoring defense (42.9 points per game), total defense (522 yards per game), passing defense (252.9 yards per game) and rushing defense (269.2 yards per game).

The North Texas Daily sports staff joined in a round table discussion to conversate and give their thoughts regarding the high volume of players deciding to leave the North Texas football program.

“The large number of players leaving is more indicative of the unique circumstances of the pandemic than anything to be too alarmed about. Since every player can now transfer once and be immediately eligible at their new school, it makes sense that more players would be leaving North Texas compared to a normal year. While a good chunk of the players transferring were not key contributors last season, there is still some cause for concern with a few significant contributors like quarterback Jason Bean, wide receiver Austin Ogunmakin and defensive back Cameron Johnson leaving. North Texas loses 40.7 percent of the combined passing yards from its two starting quarterbacks last season and Seth Littrell’s two-quarterback system appears to be history as well. Neither Bean nor Austin Aune performed exceptionally well as passers last season despite failing to record a 55 percent completion percentage. It will be interesting to see what Aune is able to do with a full offseason and more consistent playing time next season. The defense being a big concern as well, North Texas had plenty of issues to address before losing these transfers and still will in the meantime. The team has a full offseason to do so and may bring in a few more transfers to fill in roster spots.” – John Fields, Sports writer

“I think it’s unfortunate we’ve had so many key players transfer out of our program within the past week. However, I think this will most certainly free up some space for the young players in the system trying to earn a starting role.”- Milo Mihaltses, Sports columnist

“It’s perfectly understandable to have a handful of players enter the transfer portal, especially with the extra year the players attained this season. However, when you have nearly a dozen players leaving who made a big impact on the team it may be a bad look. Littrell brought in a solid recruiting class and defensive coordinator in Phil Bennett. This offseason and spring football will be the most crucial during his time with North Texas if he wants to back the glory days of 2017 and 2018. Now that Bean is out of the picture, the ball is in Aune’s hands to continue Mason Fine’s legacy of a high powered offense.” -Preston Rios, Senior sports writer

“One has to look at the culture around the team. Losing numerous players — most notably Greg White and Jason Bean — is enigmatic in any program, but especially one that hasn’t found much success as of late, like North Texas. The coaching staff needs to stop the bleeding, and create a cultural environment that encourages players to stay on the squad, rather than enter the transfer portal.” -Reed Smith, Sports writer

“Having players transferring is nothing new, there are way too many for there to not be a problem. This season was an underachieving year, but the team still lost a starting lineup’s worth of players reflecting upon the leadership of the coaches. It shows the players don’t believe they can reach their maximum potential at North Texas, sending a bad message to new recruits. A losing record next year is not an option for Littrell.” -Caleb Yum, Sports writer

Featured Image: Redshirt freshman tight end Khatib Lyles stares out onto the field before the game against Southern Mississippi on Oct. 3, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Preston Rios

Preston Rios

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