Friday Night Lights is about to begin over at Apogee Stadium.
I will post news and notes throughout the night.
First off, here’s the big news — Converse Judson offensive lineman Abdul Beecham just confirmed with me that he committed to UNT tonight.
Beecham had a preliminary commitment in place earlier in the week, but wanted to see UNT’s campus with his father and make things official tonight.
UNT was high on Beecham all along. He never officially received any other offers. Houston came close to putting one on the table. In the end, UNT really showed Beecham that he was a top priority. That paid off in the end.
Update 6:50 — There are a number of top prospects here tonight, including one of the top outside linebackers in the country. I knew he looked familiar and sure enough Anthony Hines, one of the top athletes in the Class of 2017, is here. The man with an epic fro is committed to Mississippi State, but said he is still considering UNT.
Update 6:55 — Jerminic Smith, a wide receiver from South Garland UNT has offered, is here. I didn’t know this, but he is the younger brother of former UNT wide receiver Darnell Smith. The younger Smith brother has offers from TCU and Texas Tech. Smith said he will take his official visits before deciding where to go, but UNT is definitely in the hunt. Darnell said the family’s relationship with UNT, its staff and wide receivers coach Mike Grant will help the Mean Green.
Update 7:00 — UNT offensive line recruit Creighton Barr is here, but is not working out. He was working through and ankle injury the last time I talked to him. Barr is hanging out with Abdul Beecham. I have a feeling there is a good chance he ends up playing for UNT.
Update 7:15 — D’erren Wilson, a wide receiver from Greenville, is here. We talked about him a little in the paper today. He was supposed to decide between Indiana, BYU and Arkansas State a few weeks ago. He said he wanted to wait to consider his options and could decide late this summer or at the middle of the season.
Update 7:20 — UNT commit Ashton Preston is here tonight. Preston said that his commitment to UNT is solid, but that there are a few other schools that could soon offer him. Preston mentioned Cal, but declined to name the other school he thinks could soon offer him. I have a gut feeling it’s Louisville.
Update 7:42 — The Flower Mound offensive line connection is here tonight. I mentioned that Creighton Barr is here. Barr plays for Flower Mound Marcus. Evan Curl, who plays for Flower Mound, is also at the camp. Neither is working out. I stood and chatted with both for a while. Barr has offers from UNT, Fresno State and Arkansas State and is considering all three schools. Mississippi State has also been talking to Barr. Curl has offers from UNT and Fresno State. He is also talking to Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. My impression is that both are pretty high on UNT’s board, but spots are starting to fill up at this point.
Update 8:13 — Myles Cheatum, a defensive end from Cedar Park is here and is getting the full-court press from UNT’s coaches and even athletic director Rick Villarreal. We wrote about Cheatum a while back in our on-going UNT recruiting target series. Reggie Pegram is on hand. I said hello. He looked like he is in good shape and he was moving around pretty good on his knee. Dan McCarney said at media day that he is at full strength.
Update 8:19 — I just got a chance to talk with Myles Cheatum. He really likes what he has seen at UNT. I also talked with Cheatum’s father who is here with him. Both want a chance to talk with Cheatum’s mom and let her meet UNT’s coaches before making a decision. UNT is in a really good spot, though. Cheatum also has offers from Fresno State, Texas State and Louisiana Tech.
Update 9:10 — UNT is wrapping up its Friday Night Lights here at Apogee Stadium. Mac is killing it in the closing speech as usual. I’ve got one more zinger for the night. Graham defensive lineman Dustin McWhorter stopped me near the end of camp and said that he is going to commit to UNT tomorrow. He wanted to commit tonight, but UNT’s coaches wanted him to out it off for a day. McWhorter has offers from UNT, Texas State and Colorado State. Nothing is official at this point, but it sure looks like McWhorter will be will be the second commit UNT picks up out of the camp.
Wrap-up thoughts — UNT’s Friday Night Lights camp is in the books for another year. We mentioned heading into the camp that this is historically a night where UNT makes a lot of hay in recruiting. UNT’s coaches were all out tonight, putting their best foot forward. Some of the heavy-hitters from the athletic department (AD Rick Villarreal) and booster community (Ernie Kuehne, C. Dan Smith) were also on hand.
The camp was a hit. There were about 425 players there, according to UNT’s staff.
UNT also picked up a commitment from its top offensive line target Abdul Beecham, a standout from Converse Judson who made the trip, but didn’t participate.
Beecham is an interesting prospect. UNT’s coaches love him and a ton of other schools showed interest, including Houston and Iowa State. In the end UNT was the only team that offered. UNT’s coaches have shown that they are good at evaluating talent. They like Beecham. They like him a lot. What will be interesting to see is how he develops.
A couple of other players appear to be imminent commits.
Cedar Park defensive end Myles Cheatum said he needed to talk to his mom and have his mom meet UNT’s coaches, but that if things go well, he will commit to UNT. Cheatum would be the highest rated commit on UNT’s board, according to some services.
Graham defensive lineman Dustin McWhorter also stopped me at the end of camp and said he would commit tomorrow. UNT’s coaches wanted him to wait a day.
I’m not going to pretend I know for sure if either commit goes through, but the chances seem pretty good that they will.
That would give UNT three commits out of the camp that we know of, and all seem like good prospects at need spots in a class that will be heavy on linemen.