Tyler John Tyler's Rodney Bendy waited for weeks to meet North Texas coach Dan McCarney and make his commitment to play for the Mean Green official.
That meeting finally took place on Tuesday night at UNT’s satellite summer camp at Robert Lee High in Tyler. Bendy had a bit of a laugh when McCarney walked right past and didn’t recognize him.
Once McCarney and Bendy were properly introduced, they hit it off. Bendy’s decision to play for UNT and McCarney was finalized a short time later.
Bendy is the first player to commit to UNT in the class of 2015. Oral commitments are non-binding. National signing day is Feb. 4.
“I like coach McCarney and feel at home with the coaching staff,” Bendy said. “It’s special to be the first one to commit. When I found out that North Texas was the first to offer, I went for it.”
Bendy, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound receiver, caught 28 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns last season. He also has scholarship offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Northwestern State. UT-San Antonio showed interest.
Bendy is a good student in addition to a top college football prospect and ranks in the top 25 of his class academically. UNT running backs coach and special teams coordinator Tommy Perry recruited Bendy, who gave a preliminary commitment to UNT on May 9.
“He is getting a lot of attention, but North Texas was the first school to offer him [a scholarship],” Tyler John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes said. “They gave him the love that he felt like he deserved. For North Texas to be committed to him like that was a big deal.”
Holmes believes Bendy has the talent necessary to become an impact player at UNT due to his combination of size and speed.
“Rodney has been on varsity since he’s was a sophomore and has won a lot of games for us,” Holmes said. “He has a combination of everything. He’s 6-5, runs a 4.5 [seconds] 40 and catches everything.
“With the offense that they are running [at UNT] and the way they stretch the field, he will fit right in. They do a lot of the same things we do with route combinations.”
The more Bendy found out about UNT and the offense it runs under McCarney and offensive coordinator Mike Canales over the last few months, the more interested he became in playing for the Mean Green.
UNT lost starting wide receivers Brelan Chancellor and Darnell Smith to graduation after the 2013 season, while Darius Terrell is expected to play a significant role as a senior this fall. Bendy said UNT’s coaches told him that the departure of so many key wide receivers will open up the opportunity for him to compete for a starting job as a freshman.
Bendy is convinced that UNT is a fit for him for reasons other than the opportunities he will have on the field as well.
“I did my research and found out about what the school has to offer,” Bendy said. “I want to be an athletic trainer and they have a good program.”
Bendy has family in the area and has been to the Denton. He will soon make his first visit to UNT.
“I am coming up this Sunday,” Bendy said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.