Editor’s note — Not that this will make anyone feel any better in UNT land, but here is a blog that equates to what the DMN ran on incoming freshmen this year at college programs in the region. I can assure you, UNT being left out was a matter of communication. The DMN didn’t omit UNT because of a hidden agenda. I didn’t purposely not submit a story. I run my own blog because it allows me freedom to post more often, push the envelope a little bit and promote the DRC, our little wing of the DMN empire.
North Texas has several holes to fill following the departure of a large senior class full of key contributors that made the Mean Green’s breakout season that included a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl possible.
UNT lost first-team All-Conference USA selections in linebacker Zach Orr and safety Marcus Trice, not to mention the league’s Special Teams Player of the Year in Brelan Chancellor.
Some of those holes will be filled by key backups who will move into the starting lineup, but there will be plenty of opportunities for some of UNT’s top incoming freshmen. Here are three to keep an eye on:
1. Tee Goree
The Carthage wide receiver was UNT’s most highly regarded signee and will have the opportunity to step in and contribute right away. The Mean Green lost its top two wide receivers in seniors Brelan Chancellor and Darnell Smith, who combined for 123 catches and 1,583 receiving yards last season. UNT head coach Dan McCarney said during spring practice that the Mean Green is counting on its freshmen wide receivers to contribute. Goree is at the top of the list after earning Class 3A all-state honors last season.
2. Tillman Johnson
UNT lost six of its starters in its front seven on defense to graduation. Tillman Johnson, a defensive end from Austin McNeil, is among the Mean Green’s incoming freshmen who could find their way into UNT’s rotation along its defensive front as a freshman. Johnson, who is listed at 243 pounds, has the size and athletic ability to play right away. UNT made Johnson a priority in recruiting and flipped him from Texas State in the weeks leading up to national signing day.
3. Kishawn McClain
UNT has one safety returning in Lairamie Lee, who is a sure starter, but must find a replacement for Trice. Freddie Warner, who has battled injuries throughout his career, and Austin Peay transfer Sheldon Wade came out of spring practice listed as UNT’s top options at the position. McClain, one of the most athletic players in UNT’s class, will enter the battle in the fall and could have a chance to play right away. He was a two-way player at Rosenberg Terry, where he played quarterback and safety. He could blossom once he gets to UNT and focuses on developing in the Mean Green’s defensive backfield.