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Football: New friend helps draw lineman to UNT

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

One of the ideas behind North Texas’ efforts to bring its top recruiting targets to Denton in June for a series of events was so that they could become familiar with the school, its coaches and current players long before national signing day.

The side benefit was that some of those high school seniors got to know each other as well. The payoff came late Monday when Marshall offensive lineman Chett Munden committed to play for the Mean Green.

Munden struck up a friendship with Converse Judson guard Abdul Beecham during his first visit to UNT and decided that playing next to him in college would be a perfect scenario.

“Abdul and I have been talking since June,” Munden said. “When he committed, it made me want to commit even more. I figured I would do it instead of waiting. I can go ahead and relax and focus on my senior season.”

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

Beecham and Munden returned to Denton for a second visit last week when they attended UNT’s Friday Night Lights camp. Beecham committed to UNT that night.

Munden, a 6-7, 305-pound tackle, wanted to discuss his options with those closest to him, including his high school coach, Clint Harper, before finalizing his decision to play for the Mean Green.

“I loved it,” Munden said. “It felt like home.”

Munden was recruited by UNT offensive line coach Mike Simmonds. UNT’s staff projects Munden, who was a first-team All-District 14-4A selection last season, as a tackle on the college level.

“Every college has told me that I have a great frame,” Munden said. “They say they can’t coach size.”

Munden’s frame was one of the reasons UNT coaches made recruiting him a priority after seeing him work out at its satellite camp in Tyler. UNT was the first school to offer a scholarship to Munden, who later picked up an offer from Louisiana-Monroe.

UNT had five seniors on its offensive line depth chart after spring practice, not to mention two juniors. Munden said this summer that he wanted to find a school where he would have the opportunity to play early in his career.

He found that opportunity at UNT, which now has commitments from three offensive linemen in Munden, Beecham and Allen guard Cody Wheeler.

UNT has leaned heavily on its offensive line to help drive a power running game that has been a staple of the program for years. Munden said Marshall runs a similar offense, which was another reason he decided to play for the Mean Green.

Proximity also played a role.

“It’s pretty close to home,” Munden said. “It’s far enough but not too far.”

By the time Munden visited UNT for Friday Night Lights, the school had begun to feel like a second home and people like Beecham felt like family. That feeling was a big reason Munden committed to UNT.

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