Football: Top offensive line prospect from Converse commits to UNT

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Coaches from across the region were in constant contact over the last few months with Converse Judson offensive lineman Abdul Beecham.

Members of the staffs at Houston, Texas-San Antonio and Oklahoma State all wanted to talk on a regular basis.

North Texas stood out from that group for Beecham for several reasons, including the biggest one of all — the school was willing to put a scholarship offer on the table.

UNT made its intentions evident for weeks. Beecham was the offensive lineman they wanted the most.

The Mean Green got its man Friday, when Beecham committed to play for UNT during a visit to the school that included an appearance at Friday Night Lights. UNT hosted some of its top recruiting targets at its annual late-summer camp.

“The fact that North Texas showed me that I am a priority is important,” Beecham said. “I had the big schools like Oklahoma and Texas that showed a little interest here or there, but nothing like North Texas. They made a commitment and an effort to show that they wanted and needed me.”

Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day recruits in the class of 2015 can sign national letters of intent is Feb. 4.

Beecham was a first-team All-District 26-5A selection last season and is a member of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s preseason Class 6A all-state team.

UNT’s coaches project Beecham, who is 6-3 and 285 pounds, as a guard on the college level.

UNT running backs and special teams coach Tommy Perry and offensive line coach Mike Simmonds were among the assistant coaches Beecham said played key roles in his decision to commit to UNT.

Beecham visited UNT earlier this summer during an event reserved for the school’s top recruiting targets. He told UNT’s coaches that he would commit earlier this week but wanted to attend the Mean Green’s Friday Night Lights event and make his decision official there.

UNT is coming off a win over UNLV in last season’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and its first winning season since 2004. That recent success was a factor in Beecham’s decision to play for UNT, which has two preseason All-Conference USA guards who will be seniors this fall in Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo.

“The program is going in the right direction,” Beecham said. “To pick a program up that has been down for so long and get it back on track is something that you want to be a part of.”

Beecham said he heard from Houston’s coaches that they were considering offering him a scholarship during the upcoming season. He just didn’t want to wait any longer to pick a college, not with his senior year of high school looming.

Judson advanced to the state quarterfinals last year and is expected to be one of the top teams in Texas again this year.

“It takes a lot of stress away to be committed before my senior season,” Beecham said. “I had a lot of coaches I was talking with on Twitter every day. When it comes down to it, there is almost a feeling that I am coming to North Texas right now, but I still have a whole other season at home that I have to start focusing on.”

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


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