Thursday afternoon recruiting note on top UNT target

It’s been a busy day on the UNT football recruiting front.

We went over where Nate Brooks stands a little earlier today. The Whitehouse cornerback is weighing offers from UNT and a C-USA rival.

Check back earlier on the blog for more.

The latest twist is the way athlete Jonathan Giles continues to heat up.

I talked to the Fort Bend Elkins athlete not too long ago. Here’s what he had to say about UNT.

UNT recruiting target series — Nate Brooks

UNT knew that it would develop some new rivalries when it moved to Conference USA last summer. There would be new programs to battle with on the field — not to mention on the recruiting trail.

Louisiana Tech was at the top of that list. How the recruiting process is playing out for Whitehouse cornerback Nate Brooks is the latest example of why.

A few schools are recruiting Brooks, but UNT and Louisiana Tech have both offered the 5-foot-11, 160-pound defensive back and appear to be set up for a head-to-head battle.

“I went to a game at Louisiana Tech and visited North Texas a couple of times,” Brooks said. “There are a couple of other schools that might pop up, but those are the main two schools I’m considering.”

UNT offered Brooks a scholarship when he attended the Mean Green’s satellite camp in Tyler last summer. Former UNT safeties coach Noah Joseph was in charge of Brooks recruitment before he left for Indiana. UNT special teams coordinator and running backs coach Tommy Perry has since taken over.

Brooks has yet to meet new UNT cornerbacks coach LaMarcus Hicks.

“I want to meet him and get to know him a little bit,” Brooks said of Hicks. “I haven’t talked to him yet, but I have talked to coach Perry a couple of times.”

Brooks was a first-team All-District 16-4A selection last season when he was also an honorable mention all-state pick at safety. Here is a link to his Huddle highlights.

Brooks projects as a cornerback on the college level and has experience at the position.

“I played corner my sophomore year and started at corner last year,” Brooks said. “I had to move last year because of injuries. I will play both spots this year.”

Brooks knows that he will have to add good weight to his 150-pound frame to compete at the college level. He is consistently in the weight room, but has struggled to add pounds.

Brooks said he has talked to UNT strength coach Frank Wintrich about working on improving his frame at the college level.

“I’m going to have to put on some weight,” Brooks said. “I have talked to their strength and conditioning coach. They said that they can help me put on some weight and work some miracles.”

Brooks said he plans on committing either before the beginning of the high school season or after it is over. The idea of playing at UNT and moving closer to Dallas is an appealing one for Brooks, but he also likes what he sees at La. Tech.

“I have to visit both schools a couple of more times and talk to the coaches,” Brooks said. “I want to be sure when I commit.”

Mean Green blog recruiting series
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.

Wednesday night notes (UNT falls to OU, JUCO hoops top 100 list out)

There were a couple of items of note to run through on a Wednesday night. Here goes …

– The UNT softball team lost at Oklahoma in a televised game tonight, 3-0. Madison Thompson allowed three runs in five innings for UNT, but was no match for Kelsey Stevens, who mowed down the Mean Green. UNT managed to get two people on base all night and just avoided the no-hitter when Spencer Ferrell singled leading off the seventh. Stevens struck out six.

– And in other news, one website has come out with a list of the top 100 prospects in junior college basketball. It has a few familiar names on there for UNT fans. UNT signee Carrington Ward comes in at No. 76. UNT recruiting target Macari Brooks is listed at No. 68. The Mean Green’s staff is really high on Gillette JC standout forward Muhammad Ahmed, who for one reason or another didn’t crack the list. I’m a big believer in the general concept of players who are ranked higher panning out at a higher rate. It’s a good sign for Ward to be on there. Ahmed, a third-team JUCO All-American, was probably just overlooked.

And while I know I will hear about it, it is worth noting that Josh Gray, the top-ranked player, is headed to LSU.

UNT post-spring depth chart with some thoughts

North Texas wide receiver Willie Hubbard (16) is brought down by defensive end Malik Dilonga (56) and linebacker Fred Scott (32) in UNT's game April 12 at Apogee Stadium. Dilonga and Scott enter the off-season as starters (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

The North Texas football team’s post-spring depth chart is out. UNT passed along a copy.

Here it is.


There are a ton of surprises — as is always the case — and some of what we expected.

Here are some immediate thoughts:

– We knew Andrew McNulty and Josh Greer were in a dead heat in the quarterback race coming out of spring practice. What was somewhat surprising is that Dajon Williams is listed fourth. He didn’t participate in the spring game due to a sprained ankle, but UNT coaches talked about getting him back into the race due to his talent level. Fourth string is a long way to climb to get to the starting job.

– Cyril Lemon has played guard throughout his career, but is listed as the starter at right tackle heading into the off-season. Lemon can play any spot up front, but it will be interesting to see if UNT leaves him out there.

– The decision on Lemon could be impacted by who UNT slates to start at the other guard spot opposite Mason Y’Barbo. Shawn McKinney is there now. UNT could move McKinney in at guard and leave Lemon at tackle or move Lemon back to guard. At that point, my guess is backup tackle Ryan Rentfro moves into the lineup. Rentfro is listed second on the depth chart at left tackle behind Antonio Johnson.

– On defense, the big surprise is Malik Dilonga getting the nod at one defensive end spot over Jarrian Roberts. Dilonga is highly talented, but has not proven a lot on the field yet.

– Sid Moore has also impressed and is second on the depth chart at defensive tackle.

– Fred Scott has won the middle linebacker job.

– There is no sign of Oregon transfer Anthony Wallace

– Freddie Warner and Sheldon Wade are battling it out for one safety job.

And that’s how the story ends — Young hangs it up at La. Tech

It seems like it wasn’t all that long ago UNT fans were debating one of those questions that appeared as if it would have a big impact on the course of the next few seasons in Conference USA.

Scotty Young or Brock Berglund.

You remember.

Young was the Class 5A Player of the Year in Texas who put up video game numbers at Denton Ryan, signed with Texas Tech, didn’t win the starting job and was looking to transfer.

Berglund was a former prep standout in Colorado, who started his career at Kansas, ran into some trouble and was looking for a new home.

Both were possibilities for UNT.

Like they used to say on those commercials that ran during NFL games, “You make the call.”

Many UNT fans gave their suggestions.

UNT ended up with Berglund. La. Tech ended up with Young.

Neither program ended up with an impact player, although Young did start a few games.

It just goes to show just how hard it can be to project the development of quarterbacks on the college level — especially at UNT.

UNT has had a few players come through who were highly rated out of high school, including Berglund and Riley Dodge. In the end it was the unheralded guys like UNT Hall of Famer Scott Hall and future UNT Hall of Famer Derek Thompson who ended up making a big impact.

Don’t get me wrong. Give me the highly rated guys any day of the week. The high-miss percentage on guys every team wants is a heck of a lot higher than those no one is recruiting.

I guess there is a chance that Berglund will pan out at Northern Colorado, but today’s news that Young is hanging it up does seem to close the book on the Berglund vs. Young debate.

The final chapter didn’t turn out the way anyone expected — with this message from Young:

“but sometimes you have to know when to end it. I have loved the experience and will cherish these memories forever.”

“It has been a great experience for me, one in which I have enjoyed every moment of.”

UNT recruiting target series — Billy McCrary III

Billy McCrary is taking a hard look at his options when it comes to continuing his career on the college level.

The Leander Rouse standout has plenty of choices, thanks to athletic ability that could translate to playing on offense or defense on the college level, not to mention his performance in the classroom.

McCrary suffered through hamstring and thumb injuries as a junior last season, but showed enough potential to garner offers from UNT, Rice, SMU, UTSA and Texas State. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound athlete could play either slot receiver or safety in college.

McCrary also has a 3.97 core GPA and a scholarship offer from Harvard based largely on his academic abilities.

Those options have left McCray with a lot to consider and not a lot of time to finalize his decision, not if he wants to follow the plan he has laid out to commit sometime in June.

“I’m still looking around,” McCrary said. “I want to make sure that I will fit in and be happy at the school I sign with.”

UNT is an option McCrary is seriously considering. After initially setting his sights on majoring in engineering, McCray has turned his focus to earning a degree in business, largely because the juggling the class room obligations of majoring in engineering and playing football would be a lot to handle.

UNT could be a fit for McCrary for a number of reasons, including its business program.

UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales is recruiting McCray as an athlete. The relationship McCray has built with Canales and the rest of the Mean Green’s staff is just one reason he is interested in UNT, which offered him a scholarship in November.

“North Texas is winning games, the school is close to home and I like the staff,” McCrary said. “Coach Canales is recruiting me. He’s a nice guy and is cool to talk to.”

McCray could soon decide if he will continue his career at UNT, which would open up the possibility that he could play for Canales in college as a receiver or face him in practice as a defensive back.

Mean Green blog recruiting series
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.

Monday night notes and thoughts

It’s been a busy day in the world of college athletics with some twists and turns that affect UNT. To review:

The UNT women’s golf team is in seventh place in the Conference USA championship. UNT is at 18 over par. Tulane is seven under and UTSA two under. Those two look like they are well on their way to battling it out for an NCAA regional bid down the stretch.

There were also a few twists and turns on the recruiting front.

Jonathan Giles, an athlete from Fort Bend, UNT is recruiting picked up a new offer today. In case you missed it, here is the blog post I wrote after talking to him. You have to wonder if former UNT safeties coach Noah Joseph had a hand in that one. Joseph is at Indiana now.

We mentioned Mike Canales earlier today when we wrote about UNT quarterback target Chris Riddle.

Well, Chico is still out on the road, looking for players. He was at Scottsdale today:

There were also a couple of key notes on the Conference USA front. For one, Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall is headed to Tennessee. Southern Miss was one of the best teams in C-USA last season.

Southern Miss’ search will be an interesting one to watch.

Ok, and raise your hand if you saw this coming. Former Rice standout Sean Obi announced that he had decided to transfer a while back. He is headed to … Duke?

That is a big jump. I’m not saying he won’t fare well as a rebounder and defender for the Blue Devils. I thought he would head to a major conference team. I just didn’t see him heading to a national powerhouse.

UNT recruiting target series — Chris Riddle

Chris Riddle was riding on top of the recruiting world not too long ago, waiting on a few of the high profile programs in the country who were recruiting him to offer a scholarship.

An injury changed the course of Riddle’s recruitment and set up a key season for the Florida quarterback, who believes he could be in line to earn a scholarship offer from UNT.

Riddle, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior at University Christian in Jacksonville, first heard from UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales a few days ago and spoke with him again on Sunday.

“I had not had any contact with North Texas until a couple of days ago,” Riddle said. “Coach Canales and I talked on the phone yesterday. I was surprised. As a Florida guy you expect the Florida schools to call. To have a Texas school call is amazing. Coach told me that I am one of a few out of state schools they are looking at.”

North Carolina, Boston college, Florida International, Central Florida and Florida Atlantic were among the teams that were recruiting Riddle before his junior year, when he appeared to be in line to take over as his team’s starting quarterback.

That opportunity was snatched away when Riddle broke his leg in preseason practice.

Riddle is still waiting on his first offer and is hoping a solid showing during his senior year will give him an opportunity to continue his career on the college level.

Riddle isn’t sure how UNT found out about him, but he did attend a camp at South Florida. UNT defensive line coach Kevin Patrick worked at South Florida before joining the staff at UNT this spring. He is one of several members of the staff with connections in Florida, including Canales and head coach Dan McCarney.

Several other colleges are showing interest in Riddle.

Riddle’s performance this season will have a lot to do with which of those schools offer scholarships.

The work Canales is doing now will put UNT in a solid position if Riddle performs well, as expected.

Riddle already believes he will be a good fit in UNT’s offense.

“Coach Canales he talked about they use multiple sets,” Riddle said. “That is what we do. Playing under center is one of my strengths. I am more of a pro style quarterback and am a pocket guy. I run about a 4.9.”

UNT has traditionally focused its recruiting attention in the state, but has targeted a few out of state prospects this year.

UNT’s staff told Riddle that he is one of the select few in a group that also includes Georgia defensive lineman/linebacker Keenan Kelly.

“I don’t think being in state or out of state is a big factor,” Riddle said. “I would be able to come home on the holidays. It’s not a deal breaker.”

Riddle will have a better idea what his options are once he gets on the field and has a chance to show what he can do as a senior.

“I am going to play my senior season and see where it takes me,” Riddle said.

Riddle will enter that key season open to the idea that it will take him to Texas to join the Mean Green.

Mean Green blog recruiting series
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.

Sunday night notes (basketball recruiting, et cetera)

UNT is still in the midst of its roster overhaul in men’s basketball.

I will go through all the details of who’s coming and who’s going — once we finally figure out exactly who’s coming and who’s going.

UNT does appear to be getting closer to getting its ducks … and guards … and forwards in a row, though.

One of the last prospects out there UNT is involved with is Nouhoum Bocoum, a center from Paris JC.

Bocoum visited UNT and was headed to Eastern Michigan and Houston the last time I talked to him.

The plot thickened today when our friend Joseph Duarte from the Houston Chronicle reported …

Houston picked up wing guards Eric Weary from Howard JC, and Torian Graham Chipola College JC in Florida.

There was no mention of Bocoum, who said this afternoon that he is not sure what his options are at this point but that he should know more this week.

Kelvin Sampson is overhauling his roster as well and released TaShawn Thomas and Danuel House.

Could Houston still end up taking Bocoum? Is UNT in the driver’s seat. Bocoum does play for former Johnny Jones assistant Chuck Taylor.

We will just have to wait and see.

And in a side note, the Conference USA women’s golf championship starts tomorrow. I cobbled together a little advance for the paper. UNT enters the tournament ranked eighth in a field of 13 teams.

Saturday night notes (tennis team falls, recruiting notes, et cetera)

It’s been a busy day in the world of UNT athletics.

The big news of the day came in tennis, where UNT fell to Rice 4-0 in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament tournament.

The Mean Green was swept in four singles matches. UNT had a young team without any seniors and dealt with a host of key injuries.

UNT coach Sujay Lama said before the conference tournament that his team would have to win it to get to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. UNT had a solid year overall, though.

Meanwhile on the football front …

The Texas spring game was today. The story of the day was the way the Longhorns struggled on offense and the race for the starting quarterback job.

David Ash is out with an injury. The Longhorns’ struggles give UNT hope, justifiably so. There are a couple of angles to watch, though. USC transfer Max Wittek could end up at Texas, which would change the complexion of the Longhorns’ offense.

The real potential zinger is that stud Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard will arrive in the fall. Heard can flat play. Seeing Heard start for Texas against the hometown Mean Green would be a heck of a story.

Football recruiting is also in full swing. Here are a couple of developments on UNT targets …

Georgia linebacker/defensive end Keenan Kelly visited Georgia Tech. UNT has offered Kelly and will have a better chance if Georgia and Georgia Tech stay on the sideline.

UNT was also in on Nafees Lyon before it changed over defensive back coaches. It looks like there is a chance Lyon will end up at Charlotte, which is joining C-USA.

And since the question has been asked, it does not sound like former Euless Trinity defensive lineman Hafoka Olie will end up signing with UNT late. I’m not saying that he won’t end up at UNT as a walk-on, but I don’t foresee UNT using the scholarship it carried over from its last class on the fireplug of an interior lineman.