UNT to receive $1.3 million guarantee for 2021 game at Missouri

North Texas will be paid $1.3 million for traveling to Missouri for a nonconference game in the 021 season. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

North Texas will be paid $1.3 million for traveling to Missouri for a nonconference game in the 2021 season. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

The North Texas athletic department will receive a $1.3 million guarantee to play a football game at Missouri in the 2021 season.

UNT released the contract for the game to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Thursday afternoon.

The game will be played in Columbia on Oct. 16.

There is no return game included in the contract.

UNT has played Missouri once, falling 28-7 in 1995 and has faced Southeastern Conference teams on a regular basis throughout its history. The Mean Green are 3-35 all-time against SEC opponents.

UNT’s last game against an SEC team was a loss to 24-0 loss to Tennessee last season.

UNT travels to Florida on Sept. 17, the next of a series of guarantee games through the 2021 season:

Season Date Guarantee game opponent
2016 Sept. 17 Florida
2017 Sept. 16 Iowa
2018 TBA Arkansas
2019 Oct. 5 Wisconsin
2020 Sept. 12 Texas A&M
2021 Oct. 16 Missouri

Seth Littrell talks about UNT’s progress in spring, et cetera

North Texas wrapped up spring practice a few days back.

The video at the top of this post is of UNT head coach Seth Littrell talking about how it all went.

I shot it after the spring game. Due to the untimely death of the camera I’ve used for the last umpteen years, it appeared to have been lost for good.

I have recovered it now.

In other news, Future Schedules is reporting that UNT has added a game at Missouri in 2021.

That gives UNT an opportunity/body bag game in every season through the 2021 season. The Mean Green are 3-34 against SEC opponents all-time and haven’t won a game on the road against a Power 5 conference opponent since 1999. Darrell Dickey led UNT into Lubbock and beat Texas Tech that year.

UNT last beat a Power 5 team in 2011, when the Mean Green knocked off Indiana.

On the recruiting front, Denton offensive lineman Grant Polley decommitted from Kansas.

UNT is in the hunt, along with Colorado, Purdue and Houston, among others.

And finally, former UNT standout Jacob Holmen is on the All-Star ballot for the State Basketball League in Australia.

UNT women’s hoops roster update (updated)

Mitchell

Mitchell

North Texas backup guard Brooke Jolivette is leaving the program, while incoming recruit Mya Johnson is not expected to join the program next season.

UNT coach Jalie Mitchell confirmed both roster moves late Thursday afternoon.

Jolivette played sparingly last season when she averaged 1.2 points while playing in just 13 games. She committed to UNT during the tenure of former coach Mike Petersen.

“Brooke signed with Mike and feels like she could get more of an opportunity somewhere else,” Mitchell said. “We support that.”

UNT has already given Jolivette her release. Her father confirmed late Thursday night that she is transferring to Louisiana-Lafayette. Brian Jolivette played for the Ragin’ Cajuns and runs Houston Hoops, an AAU program

Johnson is a highly regarded post player from Parkway North in St. Louis. She averaged 12.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a senior, when she was named to the Class 5 All-State Team by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.

UNT has 14 scholarship players at this point and could sign another player late.

The Mean Green added Adrianna Henderson, a highly regarded point guard from Kansas, late last month and has five signees set to join the team next season. The group also includes

Madison Townley, a forward from Duncanville, Jada Poland, a forward from Fort Zumwalt High in Missouri; Hannah Hopkins, a forward from Humble Atascocita and Micayla Buckner, a post player from Collin College.

“I feel great about it,” Mitchell said of her roster. “We have what we need to be successful and have filled some voids. We are a lot more talented and deeper than we were last year.”

UNT took a dramatic step forward in Mitchell’s first season at UNT last year. The Mean Green beat Oklahoma for their first win over a ranked team in program history, knocked off Florida Atlantic for their first conference tournament win in four seasons and finished 11-19, more than doubling their five wins from the previous season.

UNT golf advances to regionals, et cetera

The North Texas golf team was invited to the NCAA regionals this morning.

The Mean Green are the No. 11 seed in the Arizona Regional.

UNT coach Brad Stracke said he thought his team was on the fence in terms of advancing in the days leading up to the Conference USA tournament. UNT advanced from the stroke play portion of the conference tournament before falling to Louisiana Tech in the semifinals in match play.

In an interesting twist, LA Tech is the No. 12 seed, while UAB is seeded seventh in Arizona. That give C-USA three teams in the same regional.

Stanford, Wake Forest, Cal and Oregon are the top four seeds.

And in other news, the UNT softball team put up a surprising fight last night at Texas before falling 4-2. Jessica Elder retired all 12 batters she faced after coming into the game.

UNT has now lost 13 straight and could match the program record for consecutive losses of 14 set in 2007 when it hosts UAB in its final series of the season on Saturday at home.

On the football front, the dates and times for Conference USA’s bowl slate are out.

UNT has been to one bowl game in the last 11 years and finished 1-11 last season, but those of you with a ton of faith out there, here it is:

Bowl Time Date
New Mexico Bowl 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
New Orleans Bowl 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Boca Raton Bowl 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20
Bahamas Bowl Noon Friday, Dec. 23
Hawaii Bowl 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
Independence Bowl* 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26
Heart of Dallas Bowl 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27
  • *Secondary agreement

Wednesday morning notes (Post-spring projections from CFN, Foy a head coach again)

North Texas is ranked No. 126 in College Football News' 2016 post-spring rankings. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

North Texas is ranked No. 125 in College Football News’ 2016 post-spring rankings. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

There were a couple of interesting tidbits from the world of North Texas athletics I wanted to get to this morning, including some post-spring projections from College Football News.

Since CFN is all about college football news, it tends to come out with a ton of rankings in the offseason to fill the void. A couple of those rankings came out in the last day or so.

The first is the site’s post-spring ranking of all 128 teams.

As one might suspect, UNT is near the bottom, checking in at 126, in front of only UMass and Louisiana-Monroe.

UNT won just one game last season, has a new coaching staff and didn’t have a first- or second-team all-conference player last season, although it did have an honorable mention selection in center Kaydon Kirby, except he left the team.

One can see why UNT wasn’t rated very high.

The top Conference USA teams in the rankings are Southern Miss, Marshall and Western Kentucky.

Several of those same team are projected by the site to play in a bowl game, including …

C-USA team Projected bowl Projected opponent
Marshall Boca Raton Bowl Central Florida
Middle Tennessee Hawaii Bowl Utah State
Rice New Mexico Bowl Colorado State
Louisiana Tech New Orleans Bowl Louisiana-Lafayette
Western Kentucky Bahamas Bowl Toledo
Southern Miss Heart of Dallas Bowl Indiana
Old Dominion Arizona Bowl New Mexico

On the hoops front …

Former UNT assistant men’s basketball coach Bill Foy is a head coach again, only this time on the women’s side.

Foy was one of former UNT head coach Johnny Jones’ assistants back in the good old days when the Mean Green ripped off six straight winning seasons, including five 20-win campaigns, and went to the NCAA tournament twice. Jones didn’t take Foy with him when he left for LSU and he wasn’t retained by new UNT coach Tony Benford.

Foy won a national title at Paris JC before he came to UNT. Since leaving the school, he coached at Richland College, was out of the business and then got back in as an assistant coach at Ranger Junior College.

Ranger went to the NJCAA Final Four this year. Foy also led the Paris JC golf team to the national tournament

Some guys just win.

Now Foy will try out coaching a women’s team.

I certainly wouldn’t bet against him.

And finally …

The UNT softball team will face Texas at 5 p.m. tonight on the Longhorn Network.

The Mean Green have already been eliminated from the race for a spot in the Conference USA tournament that UNT is hosting this year and have lost 12 straight.

The school record for longest losing streak is 14 set in 2007.

The top of today’s UNT notebook is a short story on what head coach Tracey Kee thinks went wrong. The pressure of hosting the conference tournament and fatigue are two issues Kee mentions.

A game at Texas doesn’t exactly seem like the best place to try to snap that kind of skid, but UNT will take its best shot tonight.

An early look at UNT’s 2017 NFL draft prospects

North Texas safety James Gray is among the Mean Green's top prospects for the 2017 NFL draft. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

North Texas safety James Gray (21) is among the Mean Green’s top prospects for the 2017 NFL draft. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

North Texas went another year without having a player selected in the NFL draft just a few days ago.

The Mean Green haven’t had a player picked since Cody Spencer in 2004. It’s one of more baffling droughts in UNT athletics.

So, is next year the year UNT finally breaks through?

There is never a shortage of scouting reports when it comes to the draft, even this early.

One of the best is NFLDraftScout.com, which has an early ranking of 2017 prospects up already.

The site has 10 UNT players ranked. Unfortunately, two of them are quarterback Josh Greer and defensive tackle Sir Calvin Wallace. UNT parted ways with Greer after it became obvious he wasn’t the answer to the Mean Green’s quarterback issues, while Wallace elected to leave the program and recently landed at South Alabama.

Wallace is a great guy. He just wasn’t going to make it under UNT’s new coaches who have increased the expectations for offseason conditioning.

UNT’s top-rated guys at this point — at least according to NFLDraftScout.com — are punter Eric Keena, safety James Gray and inside linebacker Fred Scott.

Keena is No. 18 among punters, while Gray is No. 65 among strong safeties and Scott No. 67 among inside linebackers.

Kaydon Kirby is No. 18 among centers, but has left the program. It doesn’t sound like he will return.

What does that tell us about those players’ chances?

Well, there were 21 safeties selected in this year’s draft. There were also three punters and 13 inside linebackers selected.

Gray has good physical tools and will have a chance to improve his stock next season. The same can be said for Scott, Keena and the rest of UNT’s players.

They will have to improve, because as of now, they appear to be on the outside looking in as far as the 2017 draft goes.

Tuesday afternoon notes (UNT golf team finds out fate this week)

Brad Stracke and the UNT men's golf team scored 22 of the Mean Green's 49 points in the  Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings

Brad Stracke

The North Texas men’s golf team will find out if its season will continue in the NCAA regionals later this week.

The Mean Green have been one of UNT’s most consistently successful programs over the years, ranking right up there with the school’s women’s soccer team.

UNT has advanced to the NCAA tournament in four of the last five seasons and has a shot to make it again this year heading into Thursday’s announcement of the 2016 field.

UNT coach Brad Stracke said the Mean Green were sitting on the fence in terms of getting in before the Conference USA tournament. UNT finished third in the stroke play portion of the tournament and then fell to eventual C-USA champion Louisiana Tech in the match play semifinals.

The Mean Green will find out if that performance is enough for an NCAA bid at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, when the field is announced on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive program.

UNT is currently ranked No. 61 in the GolfStat.com rankings.

The Mean Green fared pretty well this season no matter what happens. Two of UNT’s top players – Thomas Rosenmueller and Ian Snyman — are freshmen this year, while Michael Cotton is a sophomore.

Coffeyville JC defensvie tackle Bentley Easley talks about interest from UNT

North Texas has made a late push over the last few weeks to upgrade its roster for the 2016 season with an influx of junior college talent.

UNT has already landed Los Angeles Valley JC running back Anthony Wyche and recently hosted his teammate, defensive end Raveon Hoston.

The Mean Green are now positioning themselves to make a run at Coffeyville Community College defensive tackle Bentley Easley as well.

Easley, another 2016 recruit still on the market, talked a little about where he stands in the recruiting process via text message Monday night. UNT defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler has headed up the program’s nation-wide search for defensive help from the JUCO ranks and recently contacted Easley.

“Coach EK hit me up and said he loves my film, [that] they would have a spot open at DT [and that] he’s coming to visit me in 2 weeks,” Easley wrote.

Texas-San Antonio, one of UNT’s key Conference USA rivals; Eastern Michigan; Idaho and four teams from the Football Championship Subdivision ranks have offered Easley.

Easley said he is anticipating Ekeler coming to Kansas to speak with him in the next few weeks.

Easley (6-3, 320) finished with 40 tackles, including 5.5 for losses, to go along with 3.5 sacks last season. Here are his Hudl highlights.

UNT is moving to a 3-3-5 defense under Ekeler and fellow defensive coordinator Troy Reffett in Seth Littrell’s first season as UNT’s head coach. That system puts a premium on a defensive tackle with the size to anchor the middle of the line.

Sir Calvin Wallace elected not to return for his senior season, leaving the Mean Green short on options at nose tackle. T.J. Tauaalo came out of spring practice as UNT’s starter. He’s listed at 287 pounds, but said late in spring practice that he had recently pushed his weight past 300 pounds.

Landing Easley would give UNT another player who could fit the nose tackle role. The Mean Green will soon make a decision on whether or not they will offer Easley .

At that point, it will be up to Easley  to determine if he sees UNT as a fit for the final two years of his career.

“[I'm] making a decision in a few weeks before June,” Easley  said.

This could be the first time since 2010 with no UNT free agent signees

The NFL draft wrapped up over the weekend. Since then, a host of players have signed free agent contracts with teams.

UNT has seen several players follow that path to productive NFL careers, including Lance Dunbar and Patrick Cobbs.

The Mean Green didn’t have a player drafted again this year, extending its drought that dates back to 2004. The Raiders drafted Cody Spencer that year.

It’s beginning to look like UNT won’t have a free agent signee this year, either.

SB Nation compiled a list of Conference USA free agent signees. There are 24 in all and not one is from UNT.

There were 10 C-USA players drafted as well.

Add it all up, and there are 34 players from C-USA who were signed by NFL teams without a single UNT player being picked up to this point.

UNT had a couple of players who seemed like good candidates to be signed, including highly productive wide receiver Carlos Harris and tight end Marcus Smith.

So far, neither has popped up having signed with anyone.

There are several reasons UNT was 1-11 last season, but not having a player among the 34 top senior prospects for the NFL certainly is among them.

It was a pretty good indication UNT had some talent issues when it didn’t have a single player named first- or second-team all-conference for the first time since 1957 in a year it was a member of a league.

This is just another sign that UNT did have some serious talent issues last season.

The hope is that new UNT coach Seth Littrell can change that.

The fact UNT hasn’t had a player sign a free agent contract after its 12th straight year of not having a player drafted is a pretty big indication of just how big a challenge Littrell is facing.