There might not have been a more important challenge for UNT heading into the offseason than finding a solution to its quarterback problem.
UNT used three this season — Josh Greer, Dajon Williams and Andrew McNulty — has another one waiting in the wings the coaching staff likes in redshirt freshman Connor Means and a grayshirt coming in with Caleb Chumley.
UNT still went out and searched the country for a junior college addition.
That pretty much said it all in terms of where UNT stands.
That search turned up Butler (Kansas) College sophomore DaMarcus Smith, who said he will sign with UNT on Wednesday along with four other junior college players in one of the biggest mid-term haul of quick fix players UNT has taken in recent years. We wrote about the class in today’s paper.
So, can Smith fix it?
We won’t find out until next fall, but he certainly ranks among the more intriguing prospects UNT has signed in recent years.
One can go through his whole story in today’s paper, but the quick synopsis is this: Smith was among the nation’s top high school quarterback prospects back in 2011 out of Seneca Academy in Louisville, committed to Louisville, backed out, committed to Central Florida, didn’t pass the NCAA clearinghouse, landed at Western Kentucky, got stuck behind one of the nation’s best pocket passers in Brandon Doughty and transferred to Butler. Smith had a great season and had a host of programs interested. UNT pounced and landed him.
It’s the type of story that has been written thousands of times when it comes to college football. Smith has talent. The question is if he will ever capitalize and be an impact player on the college level.
UNT is essentially Smith’s last shot.
There is a lot to like about him. He has decent size at 6-2, good athleticism and was productive at Butler. He threw for 2,746 yards and 31 touchdowns with just eight interceptions last season and is ranked No. 62 on 247 Sports’ list of the top junior college recruits in the Class of 2015.
Smith is arguably the top player on UNT’s board at this point, along with Oklahoma defensive back Ashton Preston.
UNT coach Dan McCarney said UNT needs to get better at quarterback heading into next season.
At this point, Smith ranks No. 1 on UNT’s options that could make that goal a reality.
Like I said yesterday, JUCO players — and particularly quarterbacks — are a boom or bust proposition. UNT signed one last season in Greer and stuck with him for just three games. Woody Wilson showed great promise a few years ago and led UNT to a win over SMU before vanishing.
UNT hasn’t had many huge success stories recently in terms of junior college quarterbacks, but James Jones was a great get at cornerback. He started two years. Offensive lineman Shawn McKinney was another key contributor out of the junior college ranks.
Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters was a top 100 junior college player who has been a hit the last couple of years for the Wildcats.
Will Smith be the answer for UNT?
The Mean Green are gambling that he will be.
And in a side note, one time UNT target Tyler Moore, an offensive lineman has committed to Minnesota. I talked to Moore over the summer for our UNT recruiting target series.