UNT picked up some of the key building blocks for its Sun Belt Conference championship teams of the past from Oklahoma, Texas’ neighbor to the north that produced Hall of Fame running back Patrick Cobbs.
UNT’s connection to the state has faded since Cobbs graduated in 2005 and reached a low point last year when the school had just one player who listed an Oklahoma city as his hometown in offensive lineman Micah Thompson.
The Mean Green is looking north again and is recruiting a player who could reopen that pipeline just a little in Kingfisher High standout lineman Kaden Jackson.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior visited UNT during spring practice and was offered a scholarship in the days leading up to the Mean Green’s spring game. Jackson helped lead his team to the Oklahoma Class 3A title last season (The third photo in the Daily Oklahoman’s slide show linked here is of Jackson).
“The coaches invited me down to watch a practice,” Jackson said. “I came down the day after they offered. I was interested right away. I have heard a lot of good things about the team, including that they are a high tempo team. They were. I could see that in practice. And they won a bowl game last year.”
UNT tight ends coach Nick Quartaro is recruiting Jackson, who was a member of the Daily Oklahoman’s All-City team after his junior year.
New Mexico has also offered Jackson, while Oklahoma State and Kansas State have shown interest.
Jackson is a standout all-around athlete who has won the shot put at the Oklahoma state track meet twice and will try to become a three-time champion this spring.
It’s that all-around athletic ability that could make Jackson a fit at a variety of positions on the college level.
Jackson said that UNT offensive line coach Mike Simmonds believes he could develop into a productive center or guard on the college level, but that members of the staff believe he could also play on the defensive line.
The idea of playing for UNT, no matter where the coaches play him, is one that became all the more intriguing to Jackson after his visit to the school.
“I loved it down there,” Jackson said. “They have a nice new stadium, offices, weight room and meeting rooms. Everything that you could want is right there.”
The fact that UNT is located just hours away from his hometown is also a draw for Jackson.
“It’s only three or four hours away from home,” Jackson said. “That is a pretty big factor. I can go see my family and they can come and see me play.”
While Jackson likes what UNT has to offer, he plans to wait and see what his options are and where he feels the most comfortable.
“I am trying to focus on the season and make sure I make a good decision on where I want to go,” Jackson said. “I want to make sure that I feel good about where I’m going and the coaches I will play for.”
Mean Green blog recruiting series
LB Angelo Garbutt, Lewisville Hebron
LB Clay Holford, Lewisville Hebron
ATH Billy McCrary, Leander Rouse
QB Chris Riddle, University Christian, Jacksonville, Fla.
CB Nafees Lyon, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek
DL Carl Thompson, Guyer
OL Beau Hott, Plano
WR Akile Davis, DeSoto
ATH Jonathan Giles, Fort Bend Elkins
OL Clayton Woods, Highland Park
DL Keenan Kelly, Cedar Grove, Ga.