Elex Woodworth - RSJr - 6’4”, 286 pounds, started in 14 games last season
Manase Mose - RSFr - 6’1”, 296 pounds, redshirted last season
Sosaia Mose - RSJr - 6’2”, 305 pounds, started in 11 games last season
Thomas Preston III - JR - 6’4”, 292 pounds, did not play last season
Riley Mayfield - RSSr. - 6’7”, 300 pounds, started in 14 games last season
Jacob Brammer - RSFr - 6’4”, 285 pounds, redshirted last season
Jordan Murray - SR - 6’9”, 325 pounds, started in 14 games last season
North Texas has the talent to lead Conference USA in passing, but first, quarterback Mason Fine will need the time to get his passes to a talented group of receivers.
The Mean Green gave up 39 sacks last season, and despite returning a plethora of experience, questions still surround the offensive line as UNT’s season opener against SMU nears. UNT must replace only one starter in guard T.J. Henson, who graduated, but players switching spots and injuries have taken a toll on the Mean Green’s depth.
Sosaia Mose, who was named an All-Conference USA honorable mention after last season, could be the only player with a solidified spot on the offensive line right now at center. Mose’s backup, Creighton Barr, recently suffered a career-ending injury, forcing Thomas Preston III to learn the center position while also practicing at guard.
Right now, it looks like Manase Mose and Preston will start at guard, with Elex Woodworth moving to tackle to start with Riley Mayfield.
Woodworth, a redshirt-junior, was an all-conference honorable mention last year after starting every game at guard. He played both guard and tackle as a redshirt-freshman, starting in eight games. Mayfield also started in every game last season at right tackle, where he’ll most likely play again this season.
There will be new faces at guard with Manase Mose and Preston. Manase Mose redshirted last season and this will be Preston’s first season on campus after transferring from Scottsdale Community College, where he primarily played tackle. Other newcomers raising eyebrows include Jacob Brammer, who redshirted last season.
The Mean Green offensive line will endure most of its struggles and changes early in the season but should be headed in the right direction by conference play.
LT - Elex Woodworth/Brammer
LG - M. Mose/Murray
C - S. Mose/Preston
RG - Preston/TBD
RT - Mayfield/TBD
Roderick Young - SR - 14 starts, 48 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2 sacks
LaDarius Hamilton - JR - 8 starts, 14 games, 40 tackles, 4 TFL
Ulaisi Tauaalo - RSSr - 14 games, 40 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack
Tuulau Saafi - RSJr - did not play last season
Dion Novil - SO - 4 games, 3 tackles
The bad news for UNT’s defensive line is it got to opponents’ quarterbacks only 23 times last season, but the good news is that two of the Mean Green’s front three are back this year, which should mean only improvement up front.
Roderick Young will lead the group as a senior defensive tackle in the middle. Young is the only player to start every game last season and earned All- Conference USA honorable mention honors. LaDarius Hamilton started eight games at defensive end, and even though redshirt-senior Ulaisi Tauaalo has never started, he’s appeared in every UNT game since 2015.
Experience will be UNT’s strength with the starting front three, but depth will be just as important for a defense constantly in shootouts and gave up 35 points a game last season. That style of play won’t change with the Mean Green still relying on a quick pass game on offense and having teams such as Florida Atlantic on the schedule.
Based off the Mean Green’s two fall scrimmages, it looks like Tuulau Saafi and Dion Novil will help provide that depth for UNT. Novil had a stellar first scrimmage, recovering a fumble and recording two tackles for loss. Saafi, a junior college transfer, notched a sack in the second scrimmage.
Other than the starting three and Novil, no one else on the defensive line has experience with UNT so the defensive reserve competition is wide open for the Mean Green.