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North Texas football recruiting: 2017 National Signing Day results

With a full year under new management, the Mean Green continue to rebuild as they fight in-state rivals for top recruits

North Texas v Florida Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

North Texas’ entire roster through 2015 was dubious, as coaching issues and a debunked AD threatened to sink the program. Fortuitously, head coach Seth Littrell, offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler took those leftovers and built a bowl team in a single season, improving to 5-8 (3-5).

While that team didn’t fill every single gap, the assistance needed this year was clear: Get help for sophomore Mason Fine, and shore up holes on the offensive line.

Unfortunately, the UNT staff was competing with UTSA’s Frank Wilson, who ran circles around his in-state competition. Let’s take the optimistic route and assume that was just the novelty of their domed stadium, and take a look at the 12th best class in Conference USA.

UNT 2017 Recruiting Class

Pos Name HT Weight Previous School 247 Composite Committed
Pos Name HT Weight Previous School 247 Composite Committed
DB Cameron Johnson 6'0" 175 Heights (Houston, TX) 3 star 11/15/16
WR Jalen Guyton 6'1" 190 Trinity Valley CC (Athens, TX) 3 star 12/25/16
RB Tre Siggers 5'8" 160 Duncanville (Duncanville, TX) 3 star 1/31/17
WR Jaelon Darden 5'9" 160 Aldine Eisenhower (Houston, TX) 3 star 2/1/17
QB Cade Pearson 6'2" 205 Texas High (Texarkana, TX) 2 star 6/22/16
ATH Tyreke Davis 5'9" 180 Ryan (Denton, TX) 2 star 4/6/16
OL Dakoda Newman 6'3" 320 Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, TX) 2 star 11/15/16
DE Tony Krasniqi 6'2" 255 Sachse (Sachse, TX) 2 star 11/15/16
DB Makyle Sanders 6'2" 180 Robert E Lee (Tyler, TX) 2 star 11/15/16
LB Kody Fulp 6'3" 215 China Spring (China Spring, TX) 2 star 11/15/16
RB Evan Johnson 5'8" 170 Loranger (Loranger, LA) 2 star 11/15/16
OL Jacob Brammer 6'5" 275 Foster (Richmond, TX) 2 star 1/14/17
OG Jevin Pahinui 6'4" 285 College of the Siskiyous (Weed, CA) 2 star 12/17/16
OT Brian Parish 6'4" 250 Sequin (Arlington, TX) 2 star 1/24/17
OG Manase Mose 6'2" 295 Trinity (Euless, TX) 2 star 12/25/16
DL Dion Novil 6'4" 240 Wylie HS (Abilene, TX) 2 star 2/1/17
WR Greg White 6'3" 175 Riverdale (Riverdale, GA) 2 star 2/1/17
LB Chris Thornton 6'1" 210 Palo Duro (Amarillo, TX) -- 2/1/17

As you’ll notice, that’s four 3-star recruits (quadruple the previous year) and the remaining 14 are 2-star recruits in a variety of positions. This is a shame, because Denton is delightful and Fry Street is so much more personable and less tourist-y than the Riverwalk, but apparently there’s no accounting for taste.

Quarterbacks

Only two QBs took snaps for the Mean Green all last season, then-freshman Mason Fine and then-senior Alec Morris. With the latter being lost to graduation, this left Fine with no reliable backups headed into 2017. While those other options may still work out, Littrell and Harrell have added well-regarded Cade Pearson out of Texarkana.

Since Littrell had more time to recruit this offseason, we’ll trust that this core of QBs can both be reliable contributors and grow into the offensive cornerstones that this squad has been so desperately needing.

Wide Receivers

The second of the three positions we wrote about UNT needing, Littrell & Co. did well with 3-star recruits Jalen Guyton and Jaelon Darden. UNT went into the offseason depleted, with only a handful of top receivers set to return, one of whom was also their top RB (Jeffrey Wilson). This is a lot to put on the shoulders of any player new to the system, but at the G5 level you can never quite get as deep a squad as you’d like.

They’ll be joined by 2-star recruit Greg White, and while plenty of receivers contributed last year, any additional standout will move to put more points on the board, not just in 2017 but beyond as well.

Running Backs

Unfortunately, it’s a lot of pressure on a freshman to be the lone new recruit, but at 5’8” and 170 lbs new RB’s Tre Siggers and Evan Johnson better be prepared to play right away. For players and fans alike, it’s a blessing to have the talents of Jeffrey Wilson for another year, but headed into the new season Littrell and Harrell will have to develop the talent they have and hope the extra QBs can find their marks through the air.

This is not ideal, but after going from one to five wins in a single year, “further improvement” is a more realistic goal than “12-0.” If the coaching staff can excel with what they have, next year’s class will be that much more willing to come north to Denton.

The Rest

Various offensive linemen, backs both offensive and defense, and the various role-players one can expect from a recruiting class, a solid and diverse group of recruits and position players will make sure the program at least doesn’t take any steps backward.

In all, “rebuilding season” is never the most exciting phrase to hear about your team, but after the last dozen years, the Mean Green nation is willing to show a little patience as the tide rises in Apogee.