Football: UNT goes JC route to get linebacker, quarterback

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Josh Greer was there on one of the milestone days in Dan McCarney’s first year at North Texas.

Three years and three stops later, the former Arlington quarterback decided to try to help UNT reach a few more, this time as a member of the Mean Green.

Greer visited UNT over the weekend and was one of two players who committed to play for the Mean Green on Monday. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M linebacker A.J. Smith also committed to UNT following his official visit last week.

Oral commitments are non-binding. Both Greer and Smith said they will sign with UNT during the mid-term period that begins Wednesday and enroll at the semester break.

Greer, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound sophomore, was interested in playing at UNT dating back to his time at Arlington and was there in 2011 when McCarney oversaw his first official workout during spring practice. He liked what he saw but never received a scholarship offer from UNT.

Greer committed to UAB, spent a year at the school and then transferred to Navarro, where he earned honorable mention All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference honors last season.

UNT started recruiting Greer again while he was at Navarro and landed him largely because of his long-term relationship with offensive coordinator Mike Canales that dated back to his time at Arlington. Greer will have three years of eligibility remaining at UNT.

“Ever since I was in high school, I liked North Texas,” Greer said. “I enjoyed my visit. The final selling point for me was coach Canales. He sealed it and made me feel like North Texas is the best place for me.”

Greer threw for 1,205 yards and eight touchdowns in six games last season at Navarro, including 253 yards in a 56-45 win over Trinity Valley in the SWJCFC title game.

That performance caught the attention of several programs, including Florida International and Georgia State. Greer chose UNT over those two schools and will enter a wide-open quarterback race in the spring following the graduation of starter Derek Thompson.

Freshman Dajon Williams and sophomores Andrew McNulty and Brock Berglund are also expected to compete for the starting job.

“I feel like I will have a good opportunity.“ Greer said. “I wanted to go somewhere I can play right away.“

Smith is in a similar position after committing to UNT, which targeted him early in the recruiting process. That dedication paid off when Smith passed on an offer from Texas State to play for the Mean Green.

“They offered me really early,” Smith said. “Their faith in offering me early and staying with me helped me realize that they have a lot of faith in me, care for me and believe I can make an impact.”

Smith (6-2, 225), was an honorable mention All-SWJCFC selection this season when he finished with 55 tackles. He will have three years to use his final two years of eligibility at UNT.

Smith could help fill an immediate need for UNT, which has two senior linebackers in its starting lineup in Zach Orr and Will Wright. Orr plays the middle linebacker spot for UNT and was a first-team All-Conference USA selection this season.

“He is going to be big enough and physical enough to play inside and is fast enough to play outside,” NEO coach Sherard Poteete said of Smith. “UNT has recruited him for a while. He has been at the top of their list for a long time.”

Orr and Wright both played key roles in a breakout season for UNT defensively. UNT heads into the Heart of Dallas Bowl ranked ninth nationally in scoring defense with an average of 18.1 points allowed a game.

“That was big for me,” Smith said. “We are going to be held to a higher standard. I will have some huge shoes to fill with Zach leaving. He had a tremendous season and career.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.


The following is a list of players who have orally committed to sign with UNT in 2014:

Player                        Pos            School last attended

Jalen Adams              WR           Moore (Okla.) Southmoore

Fonzale Davis            WR           Dallas South Oak Cliff

Garrett Davis              CB                      Red Oak

Johnavhon Grahm       DE                     DeSoto

Brandon Garner          LB             Mansfield Timberview

Tee Goree                  WR                    Carthage

Josh Greer                  QB                    Navarro JC

Willy Ivery                   RB                Sulphur Springs

Shaq Jackson              DT                      DeSoto

Andrew Jones              CB                North Mesquite

Kishawn McClain          S                Rosenberg Terry

Connor Means             QB                   Deer Park

Chris Miles                  OL                Flower Mound

Jalen Montgomery         LB                 Mesquite

Trevor Moore                 K           Edmond (Okla.) North

O’Keeron Rutherford     WR                Carthage

A.J. Smith                       LB        Northeastern Oklahoma A&M

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