A host of UNT recruiting targets have committed over the last few days. It has seemed like one dose of bad news after another.
Nick Orr, the younger brother of Zach Orr, picked TCU. Garland wide receiver James Mayden committed to Rice, which dipped into the Dallas area to land another player UNT had offered.
Orr hurt a little, but the bottom line is that we are a long, long way from panic time.
UNT is following a pretty reasonable plan that should pay dividends down the line.
UNT has bailed on Louisiana, put pretty much all its resources in Texas, handed out offers to around 50 players it would like to land and has kept the lines of communication open with others.
UNT has already picked up a couple of decent defensive line prospects from DeSoto in Shaquel Jackson and Johnavhon Grahm.
Now it’s a waiting game.
Rice is sitting there with a dozen players committed, so is SMU. Houston has 11. UTSA and UTEP have two each.
There are not enough scholarships to go around for all C-USA/AAC-level players in the state, not if they want to stay home. Some of the teams UNT competes against are going fill up. Some already are a certain positions.
UNT will be able to grab the players it needs when we get closer to signing day.
The popular thinking among fans is that there teams should have the pick of the players they want. That might be true if we’re talking Alabama.
The bottom line is at the moment UNT isn’t working from a position of power — at least not when it comes to what matters, and that’s wins and bowl games.
Apogee Stadium helps. Having Dan McCarney and a staff that knows what it’s doing helps. Conference USA? Yeah, that helps, too.
Here’s what doesn’t help: UNT is tied for the sixth-longest bowl drought in FBS football. The players UNT is recruiting were just about to clear the third grade the last time UNT — A. Played in a bowl game and B. Posted a winning season. That was all the way back in 2004.
That matters — and it matters a lot.
Most players with options, or even the hope of options, are going to hang on to see what transpires over the next few months. That’s just the bottom line.
UNT could go out and grab players from the next tier, but that is not going to help elevate the program’s talent level that is rising but is still in need of an upgrade.
This program went that route before, and look how that turned out.
UNT isn’t going back to the past, where it waited until the last minute to really crank up. The world has changed too much since that approach worked. And there are those who might argue it never did, despite fact that several key players from some pretty good UNT teams were late commits.
What UNT is doing is a little like what we have heard about the Dallas Mavericks hoping works. It’s “Plan Powder.”
UNT will have ammo in the form of scholarships when a host of talented players are going to run short on options.
It might be a little painful now for UNT fans to sit and watch schools like SMU and Rice take their pick of some of the best C-USA/AAC level players in the state. Just remember, those teams have a recent bowl history (and by recent, I mean recent to guys who are 18).
It’s not like UNT isn’t offering those players or isn’t out there working throughout the state. UNT’s coaches are out conducting camps and talking to players.
It just might take a little while for that work to pay off.
And it could pay off, especially if UNT has the breakout season it’s hoping for this fall.
If UNT gets to January, has a ninth straight losing season in the books and is scrambling to put together a class that comes close to comparing to what schools like Rice, SMU and other similar programs are putting together now, then it will be time to be concerned.
It’s just too early to press the panic button.