Wednesday marks the official end of one of the most important events of the college football year.
The NCAA transfer portal entry window, which lasts 45 days, ends at midnight.
North Texas has been active all this time. New coach Eric Morris added that probably the most important player in UNT’s entire roster in 2023 will be quarterback Chandler Rodgers, as well as a pair of forwards, a defenseman and a defenseman.
UNT has received several additional transfers and will announce the last of these players in the coming days.
The Mean Green also lost several players to the Power Five programs. Tight ends Jake Roberts and Asher Alberding landed at Baylor and Cal respectively.
Defender DeSean Gaddy was late to Portal on Monday. He may eventually remove his name from the portal and return to the UNT, but his departure seems likely.
It seems a bit premature to judge how the UNT turned out, given that Mean Green still has some additions to be announced.
What we know now is that UNT has touched on some key areas of need and it still has a few gaps to fill as it prepares for its first season at the American Athletic Conference.
There was no more important need for Evil Green to head towards the opening of the portal and the 2023 recruiting season than the quarterback.
Austin He said before the season that the 2022 campaign would be his final year in college football. The former Argyle standout, who played in minor league baseball for six seasons, backed down a little, but stuck to his decision and entered the NFL Draft.
Aune set a program record for touchdown passes in a season with 33 and rushing for 3,547 yards in 2022 en route to an honorable mention at the All-Conference USA.
UNT had four other transfer guards last season: Grant Gunnell (Memphis), Stone Earl (Abilene Christian), JD Head (Louisiana Tech) and Jace Ruder (North Carolina).
Morris and his staff felt they needed to improve the position and scored a huge victory by dropping Rogers, who was also offered by Cal and Indiana. The former Mansfield Lake Ridge standout threw for 2,403 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Warhawks last season when he also rushed for 353 yards and five touchdowns.
“I’m comfortable with the staff and the offense, which is very similar to what we did in high school,” Morris said. “I also looked at the composition, and everyone returns to the UNT. They are not under restoration. This is a successful football team. With me and the rest of the class that we have, we can win this conference.”
UNT also filled a key need in its offensive line by adding Georgia Tech offensive lineman Paula Waipulu and Texas Tech offensive lineman Larry Moore.
Waipulu started four games as a Georgia Tech quarterback last season, while Moore was a highly regarded post-high school prospect who could benefit from a change of scenery.
UNT had a clear need for an offensive line after last season. The Mean Green lost All-C-USA center to Manase Mose due to release. Tackle Cole Brown was injured in the middle of his junior season. His return in 2023 is far from certain.
While the UNT has resolved some of its issues as the portal is to be closed, there are many questions that still remain for Mean Green.
The biggest in defense. UNT has lost its best player due to the release of midfielder K.D. Davis, who scored 137 tackles and was named C-USA’s top defenseman.
Security specialists Sean-Thomas Faulkner and Quinn Whitlock also graduated.
If Gaddy is successful and transfers, UNT will enter the 2023 season without four of last season’s top six players.
Faulkner (87), Whitlock (65) and Gaddy (62) were key elements of UNT’s defense.
The Mean Greens are also transitioning to a 3-3-5 formation under new defensive coordinator Matt Caponi. UNT added two transfers that could help him transition to a new formation in former Louisiana-Lafayette guard Damon Youngblood and junior college quarterback Marcus Moore.
UNT could use a few more experienced players to fill in the gaps in a team that averaged 31.7 points per game last season.
While Mean Green have added several key players, the loss of Roberts and Alberding will be painful. Roberts caught 28 passes for 394 yards and three touchdowns in 2022. Alberding was a strong player as a blocker.
Time is running out fast for teams looking to add players during the transfer window.
The UNT does not end with the addition of players. They can’t be lost either, if Gaddy gets his way and moves on.
The final report on how the UNT passed on the portal will be known in the next few days.