Michael Outlaw had a decision to make just a few weeks into last season.
The North Texas wide receiver wasn't completely healthy and hadn't played much at all heading into the fourth game of the year.
The former East Mississippi Community College standout could have fought through and tried to play at less than 100 percent. He decided to spend the year as a redshirt and take a second crack at his senior year in 2011 instead.
The decision is one Outlaw said he is happy he made Monday, after going through his fourth workout of spring practice.
"It's a really good feeling to be back," Outlaw said. "I feel really blessed to be able to come back and play under these coaches. It's a whole new atmosphere. I feel good now that I am healthy. Last year I was going through the motions because I wasn't 100 percent."
UNT saw what a big threat Outlaw could be during the 2009 season when he caught 41 passes for 472 yards and two touchdowns. His 4-yard touchdown catch turned out to be the game-winner in a season-opening victory over Ball State.
A week later he dropped two key passes that would have given UNT a win over Ohio, which knocked the Mean Green off in double overtime.
Outlaw has grown from that experience and made a quick impression on UNT's new coaching staff.
"There is no question he will be able to contribute," UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. "The good thing is coach [Nick] Quartaro has some competition and depth. We don't have that at every position. There are some potential playmakers there, and he is one of them."
Outlaw's best asset has always been his speed, which he expects to be able to put to use this year.
"This is the first time I am healthy and have experience," Outlaw said. "I think I will be able to contribute. Once I get the new plays in the offense down, I will be able to play fast."
Outlaw will have an opportunity to contribute next season when UNT will have to replace several members of its wide receiver corps. The Mean Green lost two of its top four wide receivers in Jamaal Jackson and Alex Lott.
B.J. Lewis, another member of UNT's wide receiver rotation, elected not to return this season.
"He has got good ball skills and speed," McCarney said of Outlaw. "I like his toughness. He just has to be more consistent from the short time that I have watched him."
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .