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Football: UNT lights to shine tonight on top prospects

Profile image for By Brett Vito / Staff Writer
By Brett Vito / Staff Writer

D’erren Wilson will make a short trip to Denton today for what is quickly becoming a big night each summer for North Texas.

UNT has hosted a series of summer camps for top college prospects throughout Dan McCarney’s four-year tenure as the Mean Green’s coach that culminate with what the staff has dubbed its Friday Night Lights event.

On that evening, McCarney and his staff put their best foot forward and put on a full-court press on top prospects who are considering finalizing their college decisions before their senior seasons.

Tonight’s the big night for the Mean Green.

This time around, former Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson will serve as the headline speaker, adding just a little more star power to a night under the stars.

The hope is that a few players, including Wilson, a star wide receiver from Greenville, will be swayed by what they see and hear.

“UNT is coming up big time,” Wilson said earlier this summer. “I really want to commit before the summer is over, but it’s tough with the options I have to consider.”

Wilson has nine offers from schools such as Indiana, BYU and Arkansas State. He was expected to commit to one of those three schools earlier this summer but postponed his decision. That move opened the door for UNT.

Wilson isn’t the only top prospect who will be at UNT tonight. Converse Judson offensive lineman Abdul Beecham also will be on hand, according to his father.

Beecham was named to the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Class 6A preseason all-state team and was a first-team All-District 26-5A selection last season. Beecham visited UNT this summer when the school hosted some of its top recruiting targets and will be back today.

“It went well,” Beecham said of his first visit. “I was very impressed and liked the coaching staff. It was my first time up there at North Texas. I was curious to see what it would be like.”

UNT received commitments from some of its top recruiting targets last year following its Friday Night Lights event and the Talon Talent camp for top prospects that was held the same week.

Rosenberg Terry product Kishawn McClain, who is expected to contend for playing time at safety during his freshman season at UNT this fall, committed to play for the Mean Green shortly after attending a late-summer camp in 2013.

UNT is hoping for a similar outcome with several of the players who will be at tonight’s event.

Eight players have committed to sign with UNT so far.

“The coaches told my dad that I am No. 1 on their list of linemen they have offered,” Beecham said. “They have made a commitment to show me that I need to be up there.”

UNT will make the pitch again tonight to Wilson, Beecham and several other top recruiting targets.