UNT recruiting target Demon White of DeSoto backed out of his pledge to the Mean Green yesterday and now plans to sign with TCU.
White’s a good player. UNT wouldn’t have offered him a scholarship if he wasn’t, but I don’t think seeing him depart the fold was a devastating loss for the Mean Green. UNT can find another slot receiver prospect. Whether UNT finds another guy quite as talented as White remains to be seen, but seeing White change his mind does raise an interesting question:
Can UNT improve its performance in recruiting to the point that it can get to where it wants to go?
It’s important to point out that UNT has improved its recruiting efforts under Dan McCarney. UNT is still relying on a lot of guys who arrived during the dark days of the Todd Dodge era, including Derek Thompson, Zach Orr and Brelan Chancellor. The core of this team is Dodge recruits, but that also has a lot to do with the fact that those guys are juniors and seniors who have played a lot of football.
UNT does have some good players from the McCarney era who are starting to show up. Derek Akunne, Lairamie Lee, James Jones and Darvin Kidsy are just a few examples.
UNT also has some good recruits committed, including linebacker Brandon Garner, wide receiver Fonzale Davis and offensive lineman Chris Miles, among others. Things are improving.
What UNT really hasn’t had is the big breakout class, though. UNT is sitting 12th in this season’s C-USA recruiting rankings on Rivals and 14th in the 247 rankings. UNT was 15th out of 17 in C-USA in the 247 rankings last year.
Don’t get me wrong, UNT has clearly improved its talent base and is getting the most out of what it has on the roster. More talented players are committing to UNT this year.
The big recruiting jump might be something UNT has to wait a little longer to see.
There is still not a very favorable perception of UNT’s program out there after eight straight losing seasons. UNT is working its way back from a bad time in program history. It takes time for things to change.
McCarney talked about where UNT has come from during his tenure this week when the question was posed about how the turnaround that appears to be taking hold at UNT compares to the turnarounds he has been a part of in the past at places like Iowa, Wisconsin and Iowa State.
“When I talk about bottom 10, that’s not something I read or grabbed out of the sky. I know what bottom 10 teams look like. In my junior year at Iowa, we were winless. I know what those teams look like, feel like, play like and practice like. I was at Iowa and Wisconsin and Iowa State when they were just putrid, horrible football programs when we started. When I say that we were bottom 10 when I got here, I know what I’m talking about. This was Bottom 10 when we started. We are not now. We should take pride in rewriting history, stopping negative streaks and starting positive ones. That is the senior class’ legacy.”
I tend to agree. I was around to witness the depths of the ditch UNT was in when McCarney got to Denton and I don’t think there is any question it has taken some time to recover from it.
The recruiting aspect of it might be the last frontier, especially if UNT seals the deal and grabs a bowl bid this year.
The perception of UNT’s program is changing. That will eventually carry over to recruiting.
It’s just a little harder at this point to sell guys like White on passing on offers from schools like TCU to play at UNT when the Mean Green hasn’t played in a bowl since most of the players UNT is recruiting were in third grade the last time UNT had a winning season.