We might write an article on how North Texas is a better gig than anything the state of Kansas has to offer, but not today. Seth Littrell is staying in Denton, continuing the work he’s undertaken in turning the Mean Green into one of the best G5 programs in the country.
That work continues with a historic recruiting class.
Littrell and his staff have worked tirelessly on the recruiting trail and those efforts, plus the Mean Green’s success on the field, have come together in a recruiting class, that from a rating perspective, looks more than promising. As of Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the 2019 Mean Green class is ranked 60th in the FBS and first in Conference USA according to 24/7’s composite ranking system.
Here’s some perspective.
In the last fifteen years North Texas’ classes have finished outside the top 100 just five times, three of those seasons the Mean Green finished in the 90s. In 2004 they finished 85th, and in 2008, Todd Dodge’s second season, they rose up to 57th. That 2008 class boasted a healthy seventeen three-star recruits and ranked first in the Sun Belt. If you know anything about Dodge’s tenure in Denton you know things didn’t exactly work out. At all.
This year’s class currently contains a program record nineteen three-star rated prospects and a composite average ranking per athlete of .8226. Currently, the Mean Green class ranks higher than North Carolina, UCLA, Boise, Illinois, Cincy, Houston, South Florida, Utah, and Kansas State’s 2019 classes.
Some of those Power 5 will undoubtedly make moves in the last few days ahead of early signing and in the next couple of months before the February signing date to change that, but then again some won’t. And with the early signing day, North Texas can assure a tremendous class without fear of widespread defections.
We intentionally avoid a lot of recruiting talk on this site because 1) we aren’t as well versed on it as some and 2) the system of rankings and stars is inherently skewed to benefit the status quo without a lot of real evaluation. While recruiting evaluation is better, who you’re offered by is as important as whether you’re good at football. That being said, the best programs tend to recruit the best classes.
What we pay attention to are the rungs on the ladder that North Texas is climbing. None of Littrell’s first three classes rated higher than 102nd. With their on-field success, off the field facility enhancements, and tireless efforts on the trail, North Texas is in the conversation with some critical names, including four programs mentioned above that are worth noting - Houston, Boise, Cincinnati, and South Florida.
Those four are among the destination G5 jobs in the country. They’re consistent winners, and even in the AAC, are threats to get to New Years Six bowl games. North Texas is just behind Memphis and UCF. And while the ratings aren’t perfect, schools like Boise, USF, and Houston have built programs based on securing three-star talent consistently.
A good scheme can win you games, better players win you conference titles.
North Texas is winning head to head recruiting battles with SMU, Houston, and even Texas Tech and interloping P5 schools like Indiana, Syracuse, Kansas, and others who regularly come to into the state to nab the second echelon on talent. If you can do that, you can compete with just about anyone on any given Saturday. That’s why December 19th, the first day of early signing could be phenomenal for the Mean Green.
If North Texas, like seemingly every other G5 program in Texas, is a “sleeping giant” then Littrell is cranking the music and turning the lights on. It goes way beyond recruiting rankings. Littrell is a keen talent evaluator, far more than he’s reliant on any recruiting service. He knows who fits his system and who’s puffed up by the numbers and measurables. These last two years have been fun but Littrell’s setting North Texas up for a long run.