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  1. UNT released its depth chart this week in advance of its season-opener at Texas. The big news of the day was that Josh Greer won the starting quarterback job, which we posted some thoughts about yesterday. There was a whole lot more of interest to get to as far as the depth chart goes, so lets get to it with a few moves that stand out Shawn McKinney ended up winning the fifth starting spot on the offensive line. We hinted at this late in fall practice, but Shawn Snacks McKinney (love that nickname) edged out Ryan Rentfo for the fifth starting line spot. That means that Cyril Lemon will move to right tackle. Dan McCarney and Mike Simmonds are all about getting their five best guys on the field. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/08/looking-at-unts-depth-chart.html/
  2. North Texas juggled the lineup on its offensive front in a loss to Georgia on Saturday and could end up using the same mix of players in its Conference USA opener against Tulane. That wouldn’t be the optimal situation for UNT, but it’s not one head coach Dan McCarney would be completely uncomfortable with as the Mean Green waits for Antonio Johnson to return. UNT lost its starting left tackle to injury in a win over Ball State on Sept. 14. The junior did not play against the Bulldogs and could be out when the Mean Green visits the Green Wave on Oct. 5. McCarney’s policy is to not reveal the nature of injuries unless they are season-ending, but he did say that Johnson underwent a minor procedure. UNT filled the void left by Johnson’s absence by moving right guard Cyril Lemon to right tackle in place of LaChris Anyiam, who shifted to left tackle. Backup center Shawn McKinney took Lemon’s place at right guard. McCarney was happy for the most part with the way UNT’s line performed. “We are building some depth because of injuries,” McCarney said. “McKinney did a lot of really good things.” Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20130925-unt-notebook-unt-could-use-new-o-line-set-against-tulane.ece
  3. It was my understanding that the UNT AD will be releasing the press conference including the audio and so rather than recap everything that Mac said I will focus on a couple of the key points that he made… “Program got better”, a fairly generic coaching quote for signing day but seemed quite sincere… he signed 13 high school players and 5 JC’s, 20 out of 23 played high school call in the state of Texas…Alluded to K-State Coach Bill Synder in reference to the recruiting rankings saying that Snyder typically did not have the highest rates class by the services but managed to have a very good program that won with class etc…As of August 1 2013 Mac indicated that North Texas would – for the first time since he’s been here – have the full allotment of 85 scholarships…they have gone from 72 to 107 players participating in their off season workouts and the walk-on program pool is getting deeper and more talented… Mac’s big quote was “We will WILL this program to success...” Mentioned that they did not sign a punter but felt like Sulphur Springs’ Blake Macek could be that guy and they were confident enough at this stage to not give up a scholarship but reserved the right to do that later if necessary…emphasized how big an impact that strength coach Frank Wentrich was making on the entire program and how different the team looked from a physical perspective as compared to when he had arrived…Defensive tackle Dylan McDorman and end Daryl Mason both has off season shoulder surgery and won’t participate in spring but should be back in the fall…Andrew Tucker will play safety and participate in spring drills…Louisville transfer Zed Evans brother Erick will be joining the team from Seagoville as a walk-on…Juco transfer Shawn McKinney transformed from 405 pounds down to 355, he is also a very talented tennis player. He shared a story of when he was playing ball for I-A Hubbard he had some interest from Baylor and Baylor coach Art Briles actually came to watch him play in a tennis tournament that Hubbard was participating in which at his size is not something you see every day. McKinney said Wentrich had a good plan for him to keep the weight down and that part of his issue was not the type of food he ate but eating late at night which many of us can relate to...at 6-4, 340 he is a specimen physically. When I asked him about playing other positions other than center he indicated his sole focus was to solidify the center position as UNT lost their best lineman Aaron Fortenberry and they didn’t want to take any chances there…James Jones the cornerback transfer from Kilgore was a fun interview, he is a VERY accomplished player and very well spoken. He started out at Kilgore playing safety and on special teams where this last season he had three touchdowns on punt returns. In his sophomore year his coaches told him that at his size he would be better served to move to cornerback where he excelled. He was a talented quarterback at Aldine and had a lot of big school interest. I asked him about his vertical jump and if it had ever been measure because I had seen a picture of him blocking a field goal way up in the air online, and he laughed and said he tested ok on vertical but seemed to always jump higher when he needed to on the field. James is enrolling in the UNT Business School and studying business marketing. He plans to start at cornerback and also return both punts and kickoffs. That may seem fairly forward for him to say but as a Junior College All American who led his conference in punt returns he has every right to approach it that way. When I asked Jones about UNT in general he said “I Love it here!” …UT transfer Darius Terrell was my next interview and like Jones very well spoken, very polished giving thoughtful answers to my questions. Terrell has been here since the Fall semester and maintains a 3.0 average which impressed me. I asked Darius about his transfer from Texas and how the change in offense may have contributed which he agreed but he also said that the changes in the coaching staff complicated things there. I’m not going to lie, he was not pleased with the way things were handled at Texas and said his decision to go there turned out to be a “mistake”. The good news is he is very happy at North Texas and can’t wait to get on the field. Having been a cheerleader for his teammates on the sidelines all season, he said after the Western Kentucky game despite being sorry for his teams' loss he felt as “Chains had been lifted off of me...” and that he could finally start to fulfill the goals he has set for himself at the start of his college career. He made it very clear that when he had made his decision to leave Texas it was his former teammate Zach Orr that helped to convince him that North Texas was where he needed to be and then Chico Canales after that. As an aside, one thing in all of the interviews that I had was a concurrent theme that Chico Canales was a very positive influence on these players, either directly in their recruitment or indirectly during a visit etc. That was encouraging for me to hear…But back to the Terrell interview – Terrell will play on the outside at wide receiver. It does not sound like he will get his number at Texas #15 and he was not sure what his number would be. He was really excited about finally getting to play this spring and show what he could do. He looked lighter than some of the pictures I had seen and towered over James Jones to my left...Back to Shawn McKinney, he was under the radar at IA Hubbard and despite interest from Baylor he decided to go juco. Seemed to love Denton and the school. …Next up was Quenton Brown. Very impressive physical specimen, he was as tall as McKinney but much more defined. Sort of a no nonsense personality answering my questions quickly and directly but also a good sense of humor. He was a captain and leader of his Arizona junior college and while he played weak side end there he said UNT did not really have a strong or weak side position in the Skladany version of the 4-3. His father was a boxer and actually had a tryout with an NBA team. His dad was 7 feet tall but was only 6-6 when he tried out with the NBA team which I thought was interesting. I get the feeling that Tony Benford will want to become fast friends with Quenton as he told me his younger brother is the #1 shooting guard prospect in the COUNTRY out of Wheeler Georgia, name is Jaylan Brown. Quenton has been in Denton for 4 weeks. When I asked him about what he thought of Denton and UNT he said, “Nice little setup.” I brought up that he had left Central Florida and wondered if that was due to the coaching staff (as had been reported in some outlets) and he said that there were some issues with the coaching but the main reason he signed with UNT was due to a connection and belief in John Skladany from when he played under him at UCF. Brown had 9 sacks last season and he is a huge Skladany disciple in that he truly believes he can surpass those numbers in Skladany’s system...Zed Evans the Louisville transfer was up next and we talked a little bit about his bowl game experience with Louisville and how much fun it would be to get back to one with North Texas. Zed’s brother Erick Evans is a walk-on at North Texas and he is coming from Air Force. Erick is a running back. Zed will play safety and play on special teams at North Texas…Justin Manu is every bit of 6-5 and 300 pounds. He is planning to be a Kinesiology major at UNT. Manu said Chico Canales was a key component of him signing with North Texas. He said he knew that coming on the scene he would have to prove himself to his teammates but that he was a “leader” at Snow JC both on and off the field and expected to become the same here. Fairly soft spoken and quiet he was very proud of his All American Juco selection and said he owed that to his coaches and teammates at Snow. Manu said Denton was “Really Neat!” and said Frank Wentrich workouts were proving to be “challenging”. My final interview was with Andrew Tucker who was excited to be reunited with former teammates Rex Rollins and Sir Calvin Wallace. He felt Wallace could be a big part of the team at defensive tackle and seemed sincere. Tucker will play safety at North Texas and I have no doubt he has the athleticism and he reassured me that he loved the contact so it could well be a good match. Tucker is living in Victory Hall and seems to enjoy it saying he was “comfortable”. Unfortunately I did not get to have time with Brock Berglund who seemed to be like a celebrity with all of the media and flash bulbs going on around him and several other players that I would have liked to have spent time with but I really appreciated the ones I got. Thanks to UNT SID Eric Capper for this format which was very helpful in getting to know some of the new faces in the UNT football program. GMG!
  4. Sergio Medina heard a friend was headed to a football camp this summer and decided to tag along. That simple decision turned out to be one that changed the course of the Boutte (La.) Hahnville linebacker’s life. Medina didn’t know a lot about North Texas back then but liked what he saw during that one-day camp. The same was true of UNT’s coaching staff, which began recruiting Medina and invited him back for an official visit last weekend. Medina committed on the spot and was one of two players UNT picked up commitments from in the past few days. Trinity Valley Community College offensive lineman Shawn McKinney also committed on his visit. Oral commitments are non-binding. The mid-term signing period for junior college players begins Dec. 19, when McKinney plans to sign with UNT. National signing day for players in the class of 2013 is Feb. 6. “Everyone made me feel at home and the coaches are all really nice,” Medina said. “They want to win. [uNT head coach Dan] McCarney wants to turn the program around. I want to be a part of that.” UNT was the first program to offer Medina (6-foot, 210 pounds) a scholarship, but Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, McNeese State, Stephen F. Austin and Southeastern Louisiana were all showing interest. Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20121210-football-unt-lands-2-more-recruits.ece
  5. I mentioned earlier in the night that I was hoping to get in touch with a couple of players who committed to UNT this weekend. I did end up talking with Shawn McKinney, the center who played for Trinity Valley JC last year. McKinney is a mid-term transfer who was offered by Central Arkansas, Grambling, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Jackson State and Southeastern State. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2012/12/sunday-night-recruiting-notes-part-ii.html/