The Mean Green football team received some awful news a few days ago when Conference USA released the schedule for the 2015 season. Just five home games, a week one bye-week, Marshall on the road and a November that features just one home game will already put the Mean Green in an uphill battle.
But, it was a positive day in Mean Green land on National Signing Day, as Dan McCarney put together a relatively nice class. For the Mean Green to have any success in 2015, some of those recruits will need to contribute right away. Here are three that may be able to have an instant impact:
1. DeMarcus Smith, Quarterback: This is the big one. As I, and many others, have detailed before, North Texas has a quarterback problem. The hope is that Smith, a talented junior college transfer, may be able to come in and compete for the starting job right away. He'll be competing with Josh Greer, Dajon Williams and Andrew McNulty, who all started games for the Mean Green last season. Conner Means will be in the mix, along with Caleb Chumley, another member of the 2015 signing class out of Longview, Texas.
We know Smith has the talent, as he passed for 2,756 yards and 31 touchdowns last season at Butler College. The problem is, JUCO transfers are always a question mark. Greer was a JUCO transfer and started the first three games of the season, but was a disaster. Smith might be able to come in, win the starting job and solve the Mean Green's quarterback problem, or he might be a backup. You just never know, but the potential is there.
2. Kevin Dillman, Tight End: Dillman went to high school at Denton Guyer, which is right in North Texas' backyard. Dillman is actually from Sweden, and moved here three years ago. I have no doubt that the location of North Texas factored into his decision, and I think he'll end up contributing right away. Marcus Smith caught six touchdown passes as a tight end last year as a junior, and will return for his senior season.
Smith should get most of the snaps at the starting tight end spot, but Dillman could do wonders playing behind Smith in a backup role. Expect Dillman's role with the Mean Green to increase week to week. He'll end up being one of the key guys for the future.
3. Jordan Murray, Offensive Lineman: For the first time in a long time, the Mean Green will have BIG holes to fill in the offensive line. Cyril Lemon and Mason Y'Barbo were both seniors and four-year starters on the offensive line. Both will be gone, but McCarney may have found a way to shore up the line in Jordan Murray out of Coppell High School.
Murray is huge at 6-foot-9 and 359 pounds. He's probably a little raw and needs some development, but expect him to potentially be starting by day one, and be a big part of the Mean Green moving forward.