Jeremy Combs saw a lot of familiar faces when he visited North Texas multiple times over the last few months, including old rival Jordan Williams.
The friendship Combs has with the Dallas-area players on UNT’s roster and the connection he developed with the Mean Green’s coaching staff led the Dallas Carter standout to commit to play for the Mean Green on Monday night.
“I felt comfortable at North Texas,” said Combs, a 6-foot-7 forward. “It will be a good fit for me. I like the coaches and the players.”
Combs is a highly sought-after prospect who led Texas Class 4A in scoring with an average of 23.2 points a game to go along with 7.7 rebounds last season. He recently visited Texas Tech and had scholarship offers from more than a half dozen other schools, including UT-Arlington, Colorado State and Houston.
TexasHoops.com ranks Combs No. 15 on its list of the top 100 players in Texas in the class of 2014, which is loaded with players who are highly regarded on a national level. Four of the top 10 players in the Rivals national top 150 for the class of 2014 are from Texas.
Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day of the early signing period is Nov. 13.
“He has a motor,” former Carter coach Robert Allen told The Dallas Morning News last season. “He just never, ever stops. He’s just efficient, offensively and defensively. He’s determined to get the job done. He’s a real conditioned athlete, so the longer the game goes on, it seems like the more energy that he has.”
Combs scored 50 points in a win over North Dallas last season.
Combs said that continuing his career at a college close to home was not a major factor in his decision. What did help UNT was his friendship with a few players on the Mean Green’s roster, including Williams.
Combs played against Williams during his freshman season at Carter. Williams will be a junior at UNT this season.
“I know a couple of guys on the team and played against Jordan,” Combs said. “I didn’t really know him that well in high school. He was a senior when I was a freshman, but I have gotten to know him since.”
Combs watched UNT’s players work out on multiple occasions and said he is confident in the direction the program is headed under Tony Benford, who took over the program before the beginning of last season.
“Those guys want to win,” Combs said.
The first recruit Benford and his staff have landed in the class of 2014 could help the Mean Green move toward that goal.
Combs is considered an elite prospect in the state and is the second player to commit to UNT in the last two recruiting classes ranked among the top 15 players in their class.
UNT landed Greg Wesley, a 6-foot-7 forward out of Arlington Seguin, from the class of 2013. Wesley, who was ranked ninth in the state, will play his freshman season at UNT this fall.
The Mean Green finished 12-20 during an injury-plagued season in its first season under Benford last year and will make the move to Conference USA this year.
“I like that North Texas is going to Conference USA,” Combs said.
UNT’s bye week is coming at a good time for offensive lineman Antonio Johnson.
Johnson, UNT’s starting left tackle, was injured in the Mean Green’s win over Ball State on Sept. 14 and missed last week’s 45-21 loss to ninth-ranked Georgia after undergoing a minor surgical procedure.
Head coach Dan McCarney does not reveal the nature of injuries unless they are season-ending. He expressed confidence that Johnson will be back at some point this season.
“It’s day-to-day,” McCarney said. “The good news is that it is not season-ending. He will be back. It’s just a matter of when.”
Chancellor receives honor
Wide receiver Brelan Chancellor was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday for his performance against Georgia.
Chancellor returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Mean Green’s loss to the ninth-ranked Bulldogs. The return was the third-longest in school history.
Chancellor finished with 158 yards on four kickoff returns and also caught a 12-yard pass.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.