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Mean Green signs 23 players, 19 from Texas
Ryne Gannoe & Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writers
The Mean Green football program, like others around the country, bolstered its ranks Wednesday on national signing day. Head coach Dan McCarney and the coaching staff added 23 players to its roster for this year’s recruiting class.
The 2013 class will play a key role in the future of the program as it heads into its first Conference USA season. The class is composed of 14 high school players, five junior college transfers and four transfers from Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
The team signed 13 offensive players and 10 defensive players.
McCarney stuck to his ambition of recruiting in-state players to UNT, as 19 of the new signees are from Texas. The state is regarded as one of the most prolific states in regard to producing talented players.
He said his staff is working hard to develop relationships with coaches from around the state.
“I sense the high school coaches in the state are really pulling for us,” McCarney said. “They may not have anything to do with North Texas, but they appreciate what we’re doing, that we’re taking a program that academically has been a great choice for many, many years, but in football, it’s not been a great choice.”
The expectations are high for a class that adds almost half its members from transfer situations. McCarney said his expectation is for all of the transfers to contribute now.
“If we’re bringing them in from transfer situations or junior colleges, if they can’t come in and impact your team right away, then I probably made a mistake,” McCarney said. “I don’t think I made any mistakes with these nine guys. It starts with the guys on campus immediately right now.”
UNT expects this class to increase the level of play from current players as well. Competition for starters has been missing from the program.
“It’s funny when all the sudden you have guys looking over their shoulder and beside them, and going ‘you know that kid might beat me out, I need to bring my A-game today,’” McCarney said. “It’s about competition. It’s about depth and having more guys who can play.”
Players to watch
Brock Berglund, former Kansas and Scottsdale Community College quarterback, was a stand-out recruit coming out of high school. Scout.com ranked him only four spots lower than last season’s Heisman winner Texas A&M University’s Johnny Manziel.
“When I was looking at schools, the first time around you get fooled by the glitz and glamour,” Berglund said. “The second time around I look at some of the more brick and mortar sort of things: the coaches, the staff, the guys, the offensive philosophy, things that are going to be pillars of what they are doing.”
Berglund is a threat in both the passing and running game. While last year’s starting quarterback redshirt senior Derek Thompson returns for his final season, McCarney said he would go as far as playing three quarterbacks if that’s what it takes to win games.
Defensive back Chad Davis is the highest ranked high school recruit in the class. Davis is the No. 51 best cornerback in the nation according to ESPN.com.
Davis brings pure speed to the defense as well. He ran the 4×200 relay for Fort Bend Bush High School and his relay team posted the fourth fastest time in the nation.
Davis finished his senior season with six interceptions, 45 tackles and received seven other scholarship offers, including three from Conference USA competitors and one from Texas Tech.
Davis said his decision had a lot to do with the Mean Green’s move to C-USA.
“They gave me a chance to play early and I really like campus, the facilities and the coaches,” Davis said. “I also like that North Texas is going to Conference USA. My family will be able to see me play at close places like Rice and Tulane.”
Defensive back Zed Evans just finished the Sugar Bowl with 13 tackles, playing safety for Louisville. Louisville ended the season ranked No. 11 in the nation.
He is on his final year of eligibility.
Beyond his obvious defensive impact in the secondary, Evans will likely see some time returning kicks and punts.
“I think we can be a major contender in the Conference USA championship,” Evans said. “I can bring some leadership to the team. I played against major teams and crowds. It’s just a game, go out there and do your thing.”
Evans converted from running back in 2010 and he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
Pick up a copy of the North Texas Daily for a graphic highlighting more standout recruits.