North Texas’ assistant coaches spent a few minutes Friday afternoon running around a field in Round Rock taking notes.
Only this time, those notes weren’t about prospects’ speed, size or arm strength.
UNT’s coaches needed to get the addresses of the players who had yet to receive a T-shirt after the staff had run out during the final stop of their annual camp tour that visited nine cities across Texas. There were 286 players who showed up for the Round Rock event after only 63 registered early.
Being a little unprepared for the onslaught in terms of the T-shirt count was about the only glitch UNT ran into during what head coach Dan McCarney described as a successful tour of the state.
UNT held one-day camps in Arlington, Duncanville, Katy, Mesquite, Pearland, Texarkana, Tyler, Denton and Round Rock. UNT had over 900 players participate — more than double last year’s total. Most of the players were from Texas, but there were six other states represented during the tour.
“We had a phenomenal response,” McCarney said. “There are so many choices for players when it comes to camps. All of the schools in Texas have them. You don’t know what to expect when it comes to how many players will show up.
“I was blown away.”
McCarney attributed the response in part to the way UNT’s season unfolded in his first year at the school. The Mean Green defeated Indiana at home for its first victory of the year and racked up five wins, its best total since 2004.
UNT capped the season with a 59-7 thrashing of Middle Tennessee and set a record for total attendance with 113,186 for six home games.
McCarney also credited his assistants with boosting the numbers for this year’s camps by getting in touch with players through any means available.
McCarney and his assistant coaches let those players know that their performance at camp would play a role in whether or not they were offered a spot in UNT’s 2013 signing class.
“We had a plan going into each camp as far as evaluating players and made decisions,” McCarney said.
There were players at each camp to whom UNT already had offered scholarships, while others performed well enough to earn an offer. UNT continued to update its ranking of potential recruits throughout the process.
Lewisville linebacker Calvin Minor was one of the players on UNT’s list of top targets long before the start of its camp tour.
“I was committed before going to camp, but it made me happy with my decision because of the coaches, the stadium and the atmosphere at the school,” Minor said. “Those camps will help North Texas because the coaches will get a chance to get to know the players and the players will get to know them.”
UNT’s coaches will have one more opportunity this summer to have potential recruits in a camp-type setting during its annual “Friday Night Lights” event. McCarney and his staff were hosts to their first Friday night camp last season and plan to make it one of the highlights of the summer for the program.
UNT brings in some of its top targets for a camp at Apogee Stadium, where it can show off what the $79 million venue looks like at night with the lights turned on.
The momentum UNT has built heading into that July 27 event has McCarney and his staff excited about the future of the program.
“There is no question that it helps,” McCarney said of the impact of UNT’s camp tour on recruiting. “The interest we had helps solidify the feeling that we can build a really good program here at North Texas.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .