Chad Davis knows a thing or two about what it takes to turn around a program.
The chance to put that experience to use on the college level was part of what made the idea of committing to North Texas an attractive one for the Fort Bend Bush standout.
Davis, one of the top cornerbacks in the state and a nationally ranked prospect, committed to play for the Mean Green on Christmas.
Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day recruits in the class of 2013 can sign national letters of intent is Feb. 6.
“They gave me a chance to play early, and I really like the campus, the facilities and the coaches,” Davis said. “I also like that North Texas is going to Conference USA. My family will be able to see me play at close places like Rice and Tulane.”
Davis, who is 5-11 and 171 pounds, said he chose UNT over offers from Texas Tech, Utah State, UTEP, San Jose State and Texas-San Antonio.
Davis was recruited by UNT safeties coach Noah Joseph and special teams coach Kent Riddle.
When he gets to UNT, Davis will join a team looking to break a string of eight straight losing seasons. The situation is one Davis is familiar with from his time at Bush.
Davis went to middle school in La Marque before moving to Fort Bend to live with an aunt and uncle before his freshman year.
Bush was struggling as a program — before Davis helped turn it around. The Broncos posted their first winning season in recent history when Davis was a sophomore, made the playoffs in his junior year and then advanced to the second round this season.
“I like the fact that the coaches are trying to change the culture of the program,” Davis said. “I got to help change things at Bush and feel like I can help the coaches change things at North Texas.”
Davis is arguably UNT’s top recruit thus far in the class of 2013.
ESPN ranks Davis at No. 51 on its list of the top cornerbacks in the class of 2013. ESPN and Rivals.com both have Davis rated as a three-star prospect.
The Houston Chronicle included Davis among the top 100 prospects in the Houston area for 2013, while the coaches in District 23-5A named him first-team all-district in each of the last two seasons.
“Chad’s a great man-to-man cornerback,” Bush coach Allen Aldridge said. “We blitzed 90 to 95 percent of the time. He was the guy we put on the other team’s best receiver. He also became more physical this year. That was the one question scouts really had about him.”
What no one has questioned is Davis’ speed. He was a member of Bush’s 800-meter relay team that finished third at the state track meet in a time of 1:24.9 last spring and has been a member of the varsity track team since his freshman year.
“I’m an aggressive, physical corner, but I’m also fast,” Davis said.
Those assets could help Davis make an immediate impact at UNT, which struggled at times in its secondary last season. UNT ranks fifth out of 10 teams in the Sun Belt Conference with an average of 251.5 passing yards allowed a game.
UNT allowed at least 320 passing yards in four games last season and lost each time.
“The coaches talked to me about playing early,” Davis said. “They felt like they needed some help.”
Davis attended one of UNT’s one-day camps over the summer, where he moved up the Mean Green’s rankings of top recruiting targets.
Aldridge said he believes Davis has improved since that camp and is prepared to make a smooth transition to playing in college.
“He’s ready mentally and physically,” Aldridge said. “He has unbelievable speed and also has the mental part of it down. He will compete for a starting job right away.”
Davis is hoping he will make an immediate impact for a team that finished 4-8 this season. Aldridge is expecting nothing less.
“Chad was a big part of our turnaround,” Aldridge said. “When his class came in, we knew that they would be the guys that got us over the hump. That will help him at North Texas. When you get kids who know how to win, that can help a team build a tradition.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a list of players who have committed to become members of North Texas’ 2013 signing class:
Player Position School
Brock Berglund* QB Valor Christian (Colo.)
Quenton Brown DE Eastern Arizona College
Chad Davis CB Fort Bend Bush
Sed Ellis LB Paris
James Jones CB Kilgore College
Darvin Kidsy WR Fort Bend Elkins
Justin Manu OL Snow College (Utah)
Shawn McKinney OL Trinity Valley Community College
Sergio Medina LB Hahnville, La.
Calvin Minor LB Lewisville
Cody Nelson OL Keller
John Schilleci S Guyer
Fred Scott LB Kennedale
Turner Smiley WR Frisco Wakeland
Harrison Sorge OL Wichita Falls Rider
Dominic Walker OL Fort Bend Austin
Dajon Williams QB Pflugerville Connally
* Transfer already enrolled at UNT