Where North Texas stands in recruiting as National Signing Day approaches

Where North Texas stands in recruiting as National Signing Day approaches

January 23
19:45 2018

As head coach Seth Littrell closes the door on his second season with North Texas, his new mission is to beat his opponents on the infamous recruiting trail.

The start of winning on that front came in the early signing period as Littrell inked 14 recruits — three players from the junior college ranks and 11 from the high school level.

Five of the 14 are offensive players, leaving the other nine to defense — the side of the ball in need of the most help as evident late in the season. The North Texas Daily spoke with Gabe Brooks, who covers major college football recruiting in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas for 247Sports and CBS Interactive, about the status of the class in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day.

“I think getting 14 guys to sign early is a pretty decent haul, given the circumstances,” Brooks said. “You can tell in general from this early group that they’re looking for more size on offense, such as Austin Ogunmakin at receiver and the two taller QB signees and athleticism on defense. They have certain types of players and recruits that they like, and they go after them, regardless of what others’ perceptions are.”

Here is a look at the 14 players North Texas has signed thus far:

LB Josh Sa’afiMt. San Antonio Community College

Gabe Brooks: “Sa’afi has impressive size for somebody who’s primarily played a standing edge position. It will be interesting to see if North Texas uses him there; players of his size usually play with a hand on the ground for North Texas’ defense.”

RB DeAndre Torrey, Gulf Coast Community College

Gabe Brooks: “Torrey appears to be the highest-rated of the three JUCO signees, but he’s entering a position group that Nic Smith may have a stranglehold on the lion’s share of touches next fall.”

S Reggie Williams, Grand Prairie High School

Gabe Brooks: “Williams’ listed size suggests he’s a corner, but he plays with a safety’s mentality. He’s a physical player on the back end of the defense who isn’t afraid to crash or run the alleys.”

LB Larry Nixon III, Richland High School

Gabe Brooks: “Nixon is an athletic linebacker who’s shown he can play downhill or drop into coverage, closes well and plays instinctively.”

QB Jason Bean, Mansfield Lake Ridge High School 

Matthew Brune: Bean is a 3-star dual-threat quarterback with long strides and decent speed. His arm strength looks solid in highlights, though I am not sure if he can keep his eyes down field when the pocket collapses. Statistically, he had a better junior year than senior year.

OL Cole Brown, Conroe High School

Matthew Brune: Brown is a 2-star offensive lineman who played tackle, guard and center at different points in his high school career. He is a good athlete who uses his hands well and can drive blocks.

S Keelan Crosby, Anna High School

Matthew Brune: Crosby is a 2-star safety but appears to be one of the most versatile players in this class. He was a first team all district as a safety as a junior and was a first team all district quarterback as a senior. It will be up to Reffett and company to capitalize on his athleticism.

LB Kevyon Davis, Ennis High School

Matthew Brune: Davis is a 3-star linebacker and was a first team all district safety in high school. He is a guy the defensive coaching staff is high on as he had offers from Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Memphis and Louisiana-Monroe. His ability to excel in the secondary speaks well to a skillset that should transition nicely at the next level.

S Jaxon Gibbs, The Colony High School

Matthew Brune: Gibbs is a 3-star safety who was a ball hawk in the secondary for The Colony and totaled 156 tackles in two seasons despite only playing eight games his senior year.

LB Jordan Hunt, Wylie High School

Matthew Brune: Hunt is a 2-star linebacker who is a physically imposing guy. His highlights are full of big hits either at inside linebacker or even on the outside blitzing. It looks like he will slide into an inside linebacker at the college level.

DL Dayton LeBlanc, Frederick Douglass High School (Lexington, Kentucky)

Matthew Brune: LeBlanc is a 3-star defensive lineman who played on the inside in high school, but in a 4-3 defense. In this 3-3-5, he seems more like one of the two outside defensive linemen because he’s just quick enough, but I could see him at nose down the line.

QB Kason Martin, Manvel High School

Matthew Brune: Martin is a 2-star quarterback who made it to the Class 5A State Championship this past season. His numbers are incredible, and we know he can win games at the high school level. He has decent down-field accuracy but is not as mobile as most of the other quarterbacks North Texas goes after.

DL Darrian McMillan, Butler Community College

Matthew Brune: McMillan is a 2-star JuCo prospect with more athleticism than most nose tackles — he looks like a real pass rusher on his highlight film from Butler Community College. 

WR Austin OgunmakinAlief Hastings High School

Matthew Brune: Ogunmakin is a 3-star WR and is the lone receiver in this class. He will join the already young receiving corps and hopes to compete from the jump with a 6-foot-3-inch frame and a strong athletic background outside of football in long jump and triple jump.

Coming off of a season in which the defense gave up nearly the same amount of points per game as its explosive offensive counterpart, it’s obvious that improving the defense is the focus going forward. The Mean Green will close out the rest of their class on National Signing Day, which is set for Feb. 7.

“When you see seven signees from what you traditionally the consider the back seven of the defense — linebackers and defensive backs — I think it’s safe to say that there was a concerted effort to improve athleticism and depth in those spots,” Brooks said. “Plus there were two early D-line signees, so nine of the 14 early guys are on defense, which isn’t surprising to me.”

Featured Image: Head Coach Seth Littrell answers questions during a press conference on National Signing Day last year. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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