North Texas Daily

Senior football class persists through change and adversity

Senior football class persists through change and adversity

Senior football class persists through change and adversity
November 26
12:10 2013

Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer

Every class that goes through the UNT football program is special in its own right, but the senior class of 2013 has accolades and honorable mentions that only it can claim as its own.

The 22 student-athletes who are in their final year with the team range from quarterback Derek Thompson, a graduate student who gained an extra year of redshirt eligibility, to safety Marcus Trice, who transferred from the University of Oklahoma in 2011 and was adopted into the system.

“The torch was passed to these seniors last December and it became their team and their time,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “I told them that if you want to be different, if you want to be special and if you want to go to a bowl game, you would have to buy in. These guys have done all of that both on and off the field.”

Thompson has seen many of the players in his class already graduate after being granted a redshirt after his sophomore year ended early due to injury.

This year’s seniors have experiences that UNT players will never encounter in the future. They are the last class to ever play at Fouts Field and subsequently move to Apogee Stadium, and to also experience the 100th year of football for UNT.

“It makes me feel old,” senior quarterback Derek Thompson said.  “The fact that we have been through so much and in our final year to have tasted success and to do it together, it’s incredible and very rewarding.”

They are also the last members of the Todd Dodge recruiting classes, who was UNT’s head coach from 2007-2010. As freshman, they went through Dodge’s dismissal, a mid-season head coaching change to interim head coach Mike Canales and the hiring of McCarney.

After these 22 seniors graduate, the program will have to replace the production that these players have created over the years.

The coaching staff will have to replace an entire defensive line, linebacker and team captain Zach Orr, three-year starting quarterback Thompson and senior wide receiver Brelan Chancellor who is only 163 yards away from becoming the program’s leader in all-purpose yards.

Although the UNT fans will no longer see this group play in Denton again, their job and their legacy is not over. UNT has two games left with a matchup against the University of Tulsa on Saturday and a bowl game within a month.

This team is already the first to go to a bowl game and win seven or more games since 2004. If it wins its final game of the regular season against Tulsa, it will be the first to win eight or more since 2003. If they win the bowl game, it will be the first Mean Green team to win a bowl game since 2002.

“It’s nice to see all of us stick together. Nobody left, nobody wanted a transfer and we made a commitment to this university,” Orr said. “We are the senior class to help turn this program around and I will never forget these 22 guys.”

Feature photo: Senior wide receiver Darnell Smith tries to block a University of Texas at San Antonio opponent before getting sacked during Saturday’s home game at Apogee Stadium. Photo by Ryan Vance / Staff Photographer

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