We are all headed down to the press conference. Hope you tune in the webcasting of the press conference and come stop by for the town hall meeting.
The soccer signees are just piling in. Here's one more.
Stephanie Eckert, Midfielder, Coppell, Texas (Coppell High School)
Eckert was named to the second-team all-district team after her junior season. She currently plays for the Texas Spirit club team. Eckert has played for the Tejanos Premier team from 2003-06.
Two more soccer signees. In addition to a second midfielder, Danielle Herron, head coach John Hedlund has signed a transfer from Nebraska.
Danielle Herron, Midfielder, Flower Mound, Texas (Flower Mound High School)
Herron was named to the District 7-5A All-Freshman team and is a four-year varsity player. She has played on the club team Solar ’89 since the 2002 season and has been the captain for five years. In 2005 and 2006 they were a North Texas State Cup semi-finalist. In 2004 her team was a Texas Cup quarterfinalist. Herron played with the Dallas Texans Red West 89 team for two years from 2000-02.
Jacy Wicker, Defender, Colleyville, Texas (University of Nebraska)
Wider played in 19 games last season for the Nebraska Huskers and started in 11 games as a freshman. She had nine shots and was part of a Nebraska defense that had five shutouts on the season. The 2005 team captain, Wicker helped lead Colleyville High School to an outstanding season in her senior year. The Heritage defense had seven shutouts on the year. Wicker also contributed two assists along with two goals and was named the 2005 District 5-5A Utility Player of the Year. Wicker played club soccer for the highly successful Dallas Texans Red North. The Red North went 30-0-1 in Wicker’s final season and was crowned both the 2006 State Cup Champions and the 2005 Disney Champions. The team’s success helped it earn a No. 1 national ranking. Wicker was also a member of the Olympic Development Program. In 2005, she helped lead her team to the semifinals of the fifth annual Olympic Development Program National Championships.
Keep in mind that this recruiting class will also include the addition of two transfer players. Cam Montgomery will come in from Northeast Mississippi Junior College to compete at running back in 2007. Also, Greg Garden has made his way back to Denton. The former Denton Ryan standout was enrolled in the Naval Academy last season, but will be looking to compete for playing time in 2008.
This football recruiting class has been regarded by many as one of the best in recent history for North Texas football. While it is true that you never know how good a recruiting class is going to be until they actually get on campus, the initial impression by recruiting experts of this class is favorable. The most recent recruiting class that compares to this year might be the 2000 class that featured no less than 10 future all-conference players. The 2000 class was a large reason for the championship success that the Mean Green enjoyed from 2001-2004. That class included Jonas Buckles, Evan Cardwell, Taylor Casey, Randy Gardner, Scott Hall, Brad Kadlubar, Brandon Kennedy, Walter Priestley, Cody Spencer, Nick Zuniga.
Drumroll please ....
Giovanni Vizza 6-1, 195 QB San Antonio Alamo Heights
-- Vizza took over the quarterback spot for the Mules in 2005, succeeding Chase Clement, who went on to lead Rice to the New Orleans Bowl in 2006. Vizza earned all-district honors in his junior year before leading Alamo Heights to the state title in 2006.
-- “He just always seems to rise to the level of his competition, and his leadership qualities are tremendous. His ability to read defenses coupled with his comfort in Coach Dodge’s offensive scheme I think will help him fit in very quickly.”
Alamo Heights Head Coach, Don Byrd
Our softball team is having its last practice today before heading out to New Mexico for its first games of the year. We are all excited for the softball home opener next Wednesday night at Lovelace Stadium. The new stadium is located right across from the Athletic Center in Mean Green Village. Not only will the softball team be playing for the first time in its new stadium, the Mean Green will also be playing against a great Big XII opponent in Oklahoma State. First pitch is set for 5:30 pm.
Click here for ticket information
We have been receiving several questions regarding a particular prospect. Our quarterbacks coach Todd Ford has had contact with a prospect and is encouraged by what he has heard. Keep checking the Meangreensports.com for the latest in all recruiting updates.
Another soccer signee! A midfielder has signed on to join the Mean Green ranks.
Lindsey Lackore, Midfielder, Frisco, Texas (Frisco High School)
Lackore was the District 13-4A Newcomer of the Year and a first-team all-district selection in 2004. She has compiled 19 goals, 21 assists, and 59 points throughout her high school career. She is member of the ODP team ’88 state championship team in 2001-02 and again in 2003-04. Lackore plays for the club team Sting ’89 Royal which was the 2004 North Texas State Champions and the 2003 Texas Cup Champions.
We are putting the final touches on the 2007 football schedule. There still are a few holes that need to be filled in. Hopefully, we will be announcing something in the next two weeks. You do not have to wait to order season tickets though. Our ticket office has been busy, hearing from old and new fans. You can order tickets online or by calling 1-800-UNT-2366
Click here for ticket information
We are taking this time to plug our basketball teams.Hopefully, you have all attended a men’s or women’s basketball game this season at the Super Pit. If not, you have a great opportunity tonight and tomorrow night to see both teams. Tonight following the town hall reception, there is a women’s basketball game at 7 pm. On Thursday, the men’s team is playing New Orleans after a nail biter on Saturday night against Western Kentucky. They had us all worried there for a little while! The men are currently riding a 10-game home winning streak, the fifth longest in school history. The Mean Green owns an 11-1 home record, its only loss came in a buzzer-beater to UT-Arlington. If the Mean Green sweeps its final four games at the Super Pit it would tie the record for the most wins in a season ever at the arena (14 1977-78 & 1975-76).
We got one from Ice Cream Country! Sweet! ... One of the Brazos Valley's best, Brenham defensive back Kevin Ealey ...
Kevin Ealey 5-9, 190 CB Brenham
-- One of the most versatile players that Brenham has ever had, it doesn’t take a long look down Ealey’s family tree to find another star. Ealey’s first cousin, Jaquizz Rodgers, is an All-state running back for Lamar Consolidated High School and is one of the state’s top recruits for the class of 2008. It was Rodgers who led his squad to the 4A Division I state semi-final where they fell to Sam Dibrell and the Alamo Heights Mules.
-- “He has what I call great basketball skills, in that he has the ability to shut people down man-to-man. At Brenham we have a receiver (Brandon Collins) who is on his way to Texas next year, and in practice it was Kevin that was the only one that could ever shut him down. He’s the best cover-guy that we have.”
Brenham Head Coach, Glen West
We hope that signing day has gotten you all excited for spring football. Put April 22 on your calendars. Here's some more information, which is different from past years.
The schedule for spring football practice has been set. Unlike years past, spring football at North Texas will take place in the spring this year. The Mean Green will take the practice field for the first time under Coach Dodge during the week of March 12-16, which is the week before spring break at the University of North Texas. After taking a week off for spring break, the team will return to the practice field the week of March 26th and will culminate spring ball with the annual Green and White game on Sunday, April 22 at 3 p.m. Per NCAA rules, teams have a maximum of 34 calendar days (excluding vacation days for spring break) to conduct 15 practice sessions, which includes scrimmages. Due to a contractual scheduling conflict that has Fouts Field reserved for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life on Saturday, the Mean Green will have its spring game on Sunday.
Looks like Coach Hedlund is continuing to recruit hard in the Metroplex! We have received an NLI for his second signee, Amanda Hall, who will play for Mean Green soccer in the fall. North Texas has a history of recruiting talented goalkeepers.
Amanda Hall, Goalkeeper, Colleyville, Texas (Colleyville Heritage High School)
Hall was named the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Player of the Week on Feb. 2. This season through nine games she has 6.5 shutouts. Hall is a two-time second-team all-district selection, her sophomore and junior seasons. She was named to the second-team all-district squad her junior season and had 12 shutouts. Hall plays for the club team Solar ’89 which is ranked 32nd nationally. She has been a member of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) North Texas ’89 team since the 2000-01 season.
Now for some NLI information...
There is a lot of confusion about the National Letter of Intent program among followers of collegiate athletics. Contrary to popular belief, the NLI program is not affiliated with the NCAA, but is instead administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association. It started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions and now includes 55 leagues with more than 500 participating institutions. By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. Pursuant to the terms of the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a National Letter of Intent is signed with another institution. The basic goals are to reduce and limit recruiting pressure on student-athletes and to promote and preserve the amateur nature of collegiate athletics.
For more information on the NLI program you can go to http://www.national-letter.org/
Ya know, Hank Dickenson made a good point not long ago that sparked our curiosity. So we checked the feedback data that we get from MeanGreenSports.com and this signing day blog is already the most viewed article ever on a single day for our web site. As of 10 a.m., which is just three hours after we started this blog, we have already had more than 2,500 page views. Now, if everyone that has viewed this web site today would buy season tickets, we will be well on our way to filling up Fouts Field for Coach Dodge’s inaugural season!
In a spread offense it is important to have a center that is consistent with a good shotgun snap, so why not have one that has snapped from the shotgun his whole career? ... Welcome Plano West's J.J. Johnson ...
J.J. Johnson 6-2, 278 OL Plano West
-- “In 25 years of coaching, he is one of the top five offensive linemen I have ever coached. I told every recruiter that walked through the door to take him. He is a special kid. He is like another quarterback on the field and can play any position on the offensive line. He’s not a project. He can step in and play right now.”
Plano West Head Coach, Mike Hughes
Coach Dodge and his staff have had basically three weeks to put together this class and from all indications it is shaping up to be a very good one. Since recruiting began on Jan. 15, the coaching staff has logged over 35,000 miles and made more than 300 in-home or school visits in a total of 18 days on the road. In three recruiting weekends more than 40 recruits made official visits to the North Texas campus.
Well the lull didn't last too long before the next wave of signees began ... it's time to welcome San Antonio's Jesse DeSoto up I-35 ...
Jesse DeSoto 6-2, 275 DL San Antonio Lee
-- A four-year letterman for San Antonio Lee, DeSoto excelled in a district that included 2005 state champion Converse Judson and 2004 state finalist Smithson Valley. As starter on offense, defense and special teams DeSoto had one of his most memorable games during his junior season. Against 5A San Antonio Holmes, DeSoto got to live every lineman’s dream not once, but twice, by scoring two touchdowns. Not only did he score on a fumble recovery on the punt team, but as an offensive lineman when he scooped up a loose ball near the end zone and fell in over the goal line.
-- “Jesse is such a humble kid who leads by example. He’s a yes sir, no sir’ kind of guy who would always just wipe off the sweat and get back on the field whenever we needed him to.” San Antonio Lee Head Coach, Jimmy Ramos
Now that we have a little lull with the football signees, we wanted to let the soccer fans know about our first Mean Green soccer signee of the day. Catherine Pollock from Denton will be joining the team in the fall of 2007. It looks like head coach John Hedlund is continuing to recruit the top talent in the Metroplex.
Catherine Pollock, Defender, Denton, Texas (Denton High School)
She is one of the best defenders in the metroplex. As a freshman she was named the District 8-4A Freshman of the Year. Pollock was named all-state, all-region, and all-county as a freshman. She was a member of the 2004 Denton High School team that won the Class 4A State title. Pollock plays for the club team D’Feeters 89, which is ranked 36th nationally and 6th regionally.
Here is the first funny story of the day. Linebacker Marquese Davis, who just signed his NLI to play for North Texas, called Mean Green assistant coach Butch LaCroix this morning at 7:15 a.m. Davis told LaCroix that he wanted to be the first one to send in his NLI fax but got caught in traffic on the way to the school to send the fax. Davis commented that it was the only time he had ever seen traffic in Atlanta, Texas and it just happened to be on the day that he was trying to get to school early!
If one Colleyville Heritage Panther is good, two is better ... next up, wide receiver Evan Walker ...
Evan Walker 5-11, 185 WR Colleyville Heritage
-- Evan is just half of a set of Walker twins that excelled on the gridiron and the hardwood at Colleyville Heritage. Walker’s twin brother Ean is a key cog of the Panther basketball team and was also an honorable mention All-District 5-5A selection in football.
-- "I have never coached a pair of receivers that have made the kind of impact on a season like Breece and Evan did ours this year. I can't remember a team that has ever had 2 receivers over 1300 yds."
- Colleyville Heritage Head Coach, Chris Cunningham
Who knew how multi-talented Colleyville Heritage's Breece Johnson really was? Take a look at this ...
Breece Johnson 6-1, 175 WR Colleyville Heritage
-- To say that an athlete is an artist on the field and exceptional to his craft is often a very true statement, but with Johnson the term “artist” applies to him in the literal sense of the word. A member of the National Art Society, when you don’t see Breece snagging post routes or button hooks you might want to look for the closest potter’s wheel. Enrolled in ceramics since his sophomore year, he has excelled in the art studio and according to his Colleyville Heritage instructor Toni Byam-Pirotte, he is an exceptional talent.
Coach Dodge got an up-close look at this one in the 2006 5A state title game ... how impressive was Bron Hager that night?
Bron Hager 6-1, 210 DB Austin Westlake
-- Before helping lead the Chaparrals to the 2006 5A-Division I state title game, Hager played a key role in winning a TAPPS 6-Man state title in 2003 as a freshman at Regents School of Austin. His pedigree is also unquestioned as Hager’s father, Britt, was a former All-American for the University of Texas and went on to play nine seasons in the NFL.
Anyone that has seen Marcus King from Trinity knows that he can be a human highlight reel ...
Marcus King 6-3, 200 WR Euless Trinity
-- “Marcus King is very excited to get a chance to play under Coach Dodge at North Texas. Marcus had a great game against Southlake Carroll in the second round of the 2006 playoffs, making several tough catches, so I think the North Texas staff is equally excited to sign Marcus. It's going to be fun to watch the Mean Green program the next few years with Jordan and Marcus, and hopefully more Trinity players to follow.”
Trinity Head Coach, Steve Lineweaver
Did we see this guy on the Gatorade commercial? ... Jordan Scoggins from the Trinity Trojans ...
Jordan Scoggins 6-1, 274 DL Euless Trinity
-- Scoggins gets his physicality honestly from his father, Tim, who is a professional wrestler in the Christian Wrestling Federation under the name of “Tim Storm.” A former football player himself at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, he calls his finishing move “The Perfect Storm.”
Rabbits are fast, speed is always good ... the Atlanta Rabbits are traditionally known for just that ... welcome Atlanta's Marquese Davis to Denton!
Marquese Davis 6-1, 230 LB Atlanta
-- After being a three-year starter for the Atlanta Rabbits, Davis’ leadership qualities were bona fide when he was elected by his newfound teammates as a team captain of the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game Classic in January.
-- “He’s just a great kid. He’s kind of a throwback in that he has great leadership qualities. We could not be more proud of him and North Texas is getting a good one.”
Atlanta Head Coach, Ben Scharnberg
What is a Yegua? Ask Sam Roberson, he'll be here in the fall ...
Sam Roberson 6-4, 210 WR Somerville
-- As an All-state defensive back himself, Roberson was challenged by his head coach Jose Martinez to make a name for himself against nationally-ranked recruit Terrance Tolliver. In the awaited match-up it was Roberson who clearly won the battle as he finished with 162 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns in a 28-22 win over district rival Hempstead. On defense Martinez put Roberson head-to-head with Tolliver, and Roberson responded with two interceptions and held the Parade All-American to a mere three receptions and 60 yards.
-- “North Texas definitely has a steal in Sam. I have coached football 26 years and have seen five players make it to the NFL; Sam is the most talented I have coached.”
Jose Martinez, Somerville Head Coach
This guy is from Coach Dodge's neck of the woods, the Golden Triangle ... Nederland High School's all-time rushing leader, Micah Mosley ...
Micah Mosely 6-1, 205 RB Nederland
-- Mosley rushed for nearly 5,000 yards in his final three years at Nederland High School; however, he was slowed down to only seven games his junior season due to a broken jaw and the town of Nederland suffering the effects of Hurricane Rita.
-- “He’s a very multi-faceted kid, whose character is beyond reproach. It’s going to be nothing but good for both Micah and North Texas.”
Nederland Head Coach, Larry Neumann
One of the Alamo City's finest ... Sam Dibrell from the 4A state champion Alamo Heights Mules ...
Sam Dibrell 6-2, 205 WR San Antonio Alamo Heights
-- After a 2005 season that saw him earn all-district accolades, Dibrell helped lead the Mules to the first state title in school history after not even making the playoffs in the previous year. The Mules reeled off 14 consecutive wins to close out 2006 and claim the 4A Division I title.
-- “Sam is a really thick, strong kid whose numbers might really be up there if we weren’t so balanced this past season. He is a student of the game and North Texas can expect to get the very best Sam Dibrell can do every time he steps on the field.”
Alamo Heights Head Coach, Don Byrd
From deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas ... Lufkin linebacker A.J. Penson ...
A.J. Penson 6-1, 220 LB Lufkin
-- Penson showed his versatility in 2006 when he switched from defensive end as a junior and became one of the state’s best linebackers as a senior. A product of Lufkin High School a high school whose five players currently in the NFL, including Reggie McNeal with the Bengals and Terrence Kiel with the Chargers, are the most of any high school in Texas he is one of nine Panthers to sign with a Division I team in the last three seasons. The Panthers had 17 players overall sign on National Signing Day in 2004 and 2005 combined.
A rocket is on the launch pad!
Next up is B.J. Lewis from the Robinson Rockets ...
B.J. Lewis 6-1, 190 WR Waco Robinson
-- After suffering only two losses in the regular season, Lewis and his Robinson Rocket teammates got red-hot entering the Class 3A playoffs in 2006 and rode the wave all the way to the school’s first state title appearance. While averaging over 100 yards receiving in the playoffs, Lewis got into the end zone in each of the Rockets five playoff games via kickoff return, reception, and even a rush in the state title game.
-- “B.J. is the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind being a role model for your own kid. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, not to mention he’s a great athlete. He played such a huge role for us this year, especially when we got late into district and into the playoffs. We told the guys that if we were going to go far that our big guys had to play big, and he did just that.”
Robinson Head Coach, Brian Lewis
Now we're starting to roll ... next across the desk is Klein offensive lineman Matt Tomlinson.
Matt Tomlinson 6-4, 270 OL Klein
-- A two-year letterman on the Klein playoff basketball team, Tomlinson only recently got the opportunity to shine on the gridiron. After the departure of All-America offensive lineman Chris Stewart to Notre Dame last season, Tomlinson stepped in to take the role of lead lineman for the Bearkats. His efforts did not go unnoticed as he earned all-district honors and helped lead the Bearkats back to the playoffs.
-- “Matt is a real quiet, soft-spoken kid who moves well and has a ton of potential. It was good to see him grow and mature over the past year. I told scouts in spring ball to keep an eye on him, and look at him now.”
Klein Head Coach, Stan Labay
These Southlake Carroll kids must like being first!!
Another of Dodge's former players made it official this morning as Kyle Russo penned his name to play for the Mean Green.
Kyle Russo 6-3, 245 DE Southlake Carroll
-- A proven winner from his time at Southlake Carroll and one of the state’s top defensive ends, Russo’s football career has also been a hodgepodge of position changes along the way. When he first began his career in junior high it was as a 185-pound wide receiver, but then moves to safety, linebacker and eventually defensive end were soon to follow. By the time he made it to varsity he was ready to contribute immediately in the state’s largest classification.
And the Winner is ...
The first prospect to sign a National Letter of Intent to play for Mean Green head coach Todd Dodge is his former pupil Justin Padron.
Justin Padron 6-0, 220 LB Southlake Carroll
-- Padron finished out his career at Southlake Carroll 32 with consecutive starts and played a key role in three straight state titles for the Dragons; however, his accomplishments become even more impressive considering the fact that he has been as successful as he has despite being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes as a child.
Good morning from Mean Green headquarters! The fax machine is full of paper and offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich is on his third cup of coffee as we are waiting for the first fax of what we think will be an outstanding signing class. We will update this site about every 20 minutes or as news warrants throughout the morning and early afternoon. You will also be able to watch Coach Dodge’s press conference live and free of charge on MeanGreenSports.com beginning at 3:30 p.m. Following the press conference we hope you have made plans to join Dodge and his staff at the town hall meeting tonight at the Mean Green Athletic Complex beginning at 5 p.m. Check back soon to find out who will be the first person ever to sign a National Letter of Intent to play for Todd Dodge at North Texas! If you have questions throughout the day that you would like to see answered on this blog, please send an email to Ben Rikard and we will do our best to post an answer.
| Letters of Intent Received |
|Time ||Name ||Position ||Last School |
|7:24 ||Justin Padron ||LB ||Southlake Carroll|
|7:35 ||Kyle Russo ||DE ||Southlake Carroll|
|7:42 ||Matt Tomlinson ||OL ||Klein|
|8:00 ||B.J. Lewis ||WR ||Waco Robinson|
|8:08 ||A.J. Penson ||LB ||Lufkin|
|8:11 ||Sam Dibrell ||WR ||San Antonio Alamo Heights|
|8:17 ||Micah Mosley ||RB ||Nederland|
|8:21 ||Sam Roberson ||WR ||Somerville|
|8:22 ||Marquese Davis ||LB ||Atlanta|
|8:30 ||Jordan Scoggins ||DL ||Euless Trinity|
|8:32 ||Marcus King ||WR ||Euless Trinity|
|8:36 ||Bron Hager ||DB ||Austin Westlake|
|8:42 ||Breece Johnson ||WR ||Colleyville Heritage|
|8:43 ||Evan Walker ||WR ||Colleyville Heritage|
|9:31 ||Jesse DeSoto ||DL ||San Antonio Lee|
|10:06 ||J.J. Johnson ||OL ||Plano West|
|10:52 ||Kevin Ealey ||DB ||Brenham|
|12:00 ||Giovanni Vizza ||QB ||San Antonio Alamo Heights|
| - || - || - || -|