Now that we have all had a chance to digest what UNT came up with in its 2013 signing day class, it’s time to take a look at what went right, what went wrong and what it all means to the future of the program.
Today, we look at how UNT addressed its immediate needs from the JUCO/transfer ranks.
We will get to whether UNT upgraded its overall talent level, landed the playmakers it needs and built for the future from the high school ranks later.
UNT didn’t lose a lot of players to graduation, but several of them were key players at vital spots. Defensive end K.C. Obi led the Mean Green in sacks and tackles for loss. Tight end Andrew Power was a huge part of making UNT’s running game effective, Ivan Delgado was one of UNT’s most productive receivers and Jeremy Brown was a vital part of UNT’s running back rotation. Center Aaron Fortenberry was UNT’s only first-team All-Sun Belt selection and he was also a senior.
UNT went heavy on transfers and JUCO players — largely because there were not a lot of guys who have been developed over the last few years to fill the void.
The immediate future of the program could very well depend on this batch of guys:
QB Brock Bergund (Kansas)
RB Reggie Pegram (Purdue)
WR Darius Terrell (Texas)
Zed Evans (Louisville)
C Shawn McKinney (Trinity Valley)
RT Justin Manu (Snow)
TE Chris Loving (Blinn)
CB James Jones (Kilgore)
DE Quenton Brown (Eastern Arizona/Central Florida)
If there was anywhere UNT made a solid haul, this group was it.
Berglund will compete for the starting job at quarterback with Derek Thompson and Reggie Pegram will play a lot.
UNT is essentially betting the farm that the rest of its transfers fill some big holes. UNT has Darnell Smith at outside receiver and pretty much nothing else in the way of proven players. Terrell could be the answer there.
McKinney might step in at center for Fortenberry. Manu was brought on to fill the void left at tackle when UNT lost Coleman Feeley, one of three guys in the rotation at tackle. Brown potentially replaces Obi, Loving steps in for Power and Jones starts at cornerback. UNT’s coaches were not happy with the play of its defensive backfield all season.
Manu and Jones were both on the NJCAA All-America team and had options to go other places. Loving said he had an offer from Kansas State and McKinney was a solid JUCO player.
One could make an argument that UNT could have used a JUCO defensive tackle, but the staff decided it was OK at that spot.
The batch of transfers UNT landed is without a doubt the strength of the class.
The issue is that UNT — and every other mid-major type program — is usually hit-and-miss when it comes to signing transfers. Power was a hit. Oklahoma transfer wide receiver Tyler Stradford was a bust. Defensive back D.Q. Johnson didn’t make a big impact last year after transferring in from the JC ranks, despite being highly regarded. Marcus Trice was a starter in the secondary, but wasn’t an all-conference caliber player.
Transfers run the gamut like that. Chances are so will this group.
What UNT did was hit all of its immediate need areas. A couple of those players were pretty highly regarded, at least in terms of being All-American type players in junior college.
Pegram was a solid player at Purdue and should be great at UNT. Berglund is a real, live, highly regarded quarterback prospect, something UNT hasn’t had in, well, forever.
When it comes to transfers, UNT gets a solid B.
This group gives UNT hope that the end of the eight-year run of losing seasons could end in the fall.