Boone Feldt came to North Texas last summer as one of the Mean Green’s most highly regarded recruits in recent years.
A host of neck and shoulder problems prevented the former Pilot Point and Buda Hays standout from capitalizing on all the talent he possessed and led him to give up the game this off-season, head coach Dan McCarney confirmed on Wednesday.
The move was expected after Feldt struggled at UNT to overcome the injuries that had hampered him since high school.
“He had shoulder and neck problems and had surgery before he got here,” McCarney said. “He couldn’t make it through practice without numbness or a stinger. He isn’t going to play anywhere else. His football career is over.”
Feldt was rated as a three-star prospect and the 17th-best center prospect in the country by Rivals.com when he signed with UNT in 2012. Feldt began his career at Pilot Point and helped the Bearcats win the Class 2A Division I state title in 2009 while playing for his father, Blake Feldt, who later took the job as the head coach at Buda Hays.
Boone Feldt went on to be named all-state three times, once each at the Class 2A, 3A and 4A levels. He came to UNT shortly after his older brother, Cam Feldt, transferred in from Arkansas.
The hope at the time was that the brothers would develop into anchors of UNT’s offensive line. That plan never materialized.
Cam Feldt played in one game last season, a win over Texas Southern, and was not listed on the two-deep depth chart in UNT’s spring prospectus.
McCarney said that Boone Feldt could stay and complete his education at UNT but is considering transferring to Texas Tech, which also has the academic program he is interested in pursuing.
UNT’s offensive line is expected to be among the Mean Green’s strengths this season, even without Boone Feldt.
UNT returns three starters in Antonio Johnson, Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo. LaChris Anyiam also returns after splitting time with senior Coleman Feeley last season. Anyiam started seven games.
The group helped UNT finish with only six sacks allowed in 2012, a total that led the nation.
UNT’s biggest concern on its offensive front is at center, where the Mean Green lost All-Sun Belt Conference selection Aaron Fortenberry. Boone Feldt came to UNT as a center and was expected to compete for the stating job after Fortenberry graduated.
Kaydon Kirby, who came to UNT as a walk-on, and junior college transfer Shawn McKinney competed to replace Fortenberry during spring practice. Kirby is listed as the starter heading into the fall.
“I absolutely feel good about those guys,” quarterback Derek Thompson said of UNT’s offensive line. “Except for the center position, everyone has played significant time the last two years. We have a lot of confidence in those guys and we have one of the best offensive line coaches in the country in [Mike] Simmonds. He expects a lot, but he gets a lot out of his players.”
Thompson said that he weighed in at 218 pounds on Wednesday, down from the 230 pounds he played at last season. UNT’s coaches have asked Thompson to drop weight so that he will better fit into a new offensive game plan that will put an added emphasis on the quarterback run game.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.