Football: Keller Central cornerback picks UNT

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Taylor Robinson possessed all the information recruits typically have at their disposal when it comes time to select a college at which to continue their football careers.

Robinson talked with UNT’s coaches and visited the school.

What made the Keller Central cornerback even more comfortable with his decision to commit to UNT on Monday was the other inside information he received from his best friend T.J. Tauaalo.

Tauaalo, a defensive lineman, signed with UNT earlier this year and is entering his freshman season with the Mean Green. Robinson said Tauaalo, his former Keller Central teammate, is more like a brother and helped convince him to commit to UNT before the beginning of his senior season.

“I felt like North Texas is my best option and I wanted to commit before the season,” Robinson said. “I talked to my parents and T.J. about it as well. I felt good about it.”

Robinson was one of two cornerbacks to commit to UNT on Monday. Southwest Mississippi Community College sophomore Zavian Bingham also committed to play for the Mean Green.

New UNT safeties coach Perry Carter recruited both Robinson and Bingham.

“I talked to the coach and he told me about all the spots that are going to be available when I come in,” Bingham said. “I can start. I also like the program and where it’s headed.”

Oral commitments are non-binding. The mid-term signing period for junior college players begins Dec. 17. National signing day is Feb. 4. Bingham will sign during the mid-term period and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Robinson, who is 5-11 and 175 pounds, was a first-team All-District 4-5A selection as a junior when he intercepted nine passes. He also played wide receiver and caught 27 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.

Texas-San Antonio, Iowa and Houston were among the teams that showed interest in Robinson, who waited to see if any of those schools would offer before choosing UNT over Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State, the two other schools that offered a scholarship.

Robinson liked the idea of playing at a college close to home with a friend in Tauaalo, who told him that UNT’s coaches would develop him as a player.

“T.J. told me that it isn’t easy,” Robinson said of playing for the Mean Green. “The coaches push you hard. I like that. That will help me develop as a player.”

Carter told Bingham that he would have an opportunity to play early if he signed with UNT, which helped convince him to back out of a commitment to Conference USA rival Middle Tennessee. Troy and Utah State also offered Bingham, who is 5-11 and 185 pounds, a scholarship.

“North Texas was recruiting me harder than Middle Tennessee and showing more interest,” Bingham said.

Kenny Buyers came out of spring practice slated to start at one cornerback spot for UNT in his junior season. Senior James Jones and junior Zac Whitfield are listed as co-starters on the opposite side.

Bingham finished with 20 tackles at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2012 before sitting out last season to improve his academic standing. He landed at Southwest, where he will try to capitalize on his talents before transferring to UNT.

“His greatest asset is his speed,” Southwest defensive backs coach Donald Dykes said. “The first time I clocked him I saw him run a 4.36. That is something you can’t coach. In terms of football, he has a lot to learn, but he can run. He hasn’t gotten on the field with us yet. We will see in about a month what he can do.”

Bingham played at Terry (Miss.) High and will see UNT’s campus for the first time when he takes his official visit this fall.

Bingham said he is looking forward to living in a new state and the opportunity to play for a UNT team coming off a breakout 9-4 season and a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

“They won a lot of games last year,” Bingham said. “I want to come in and get a ring.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His email address is bvito@dentonrc.com.

NORTH TEXAS RECRUITS

The following is a list of players who have orally committed to sign with UNT in 2015:

Player

Position

School last attended

Rodney Bendy

WR

Tyler John Tyler

Zavian Bingham

CB

Southwest (Miss.) CC

Nate Brooks

CB

Whitehouse

Cade Erwin

S

Flower Mound Marcus

Sam Miller

DE

Canton

Ashton Preston

CB

Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe

Taylor Robinson

CB

Keller Central

Cody Wheeler

OL

Allen


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