December 21, 2010

Mississippi JC quarterback gives UNT a quick yes

Looking back, spending part of his official visit last weekend to North Texas with another junior-college quarterback seemed a bit odd, even awkward, but Brent Osborn of Northwest Mississippi Community College didn't emerge disappointed.

New UNT coach Dan McCarney apparently preferred Osborn over Los Angeles Pierce College quarterback Clint Granger. McCarney offered Osborn a scholarship Sunday and picked up his verbal commitment to join the Mean Green's 2011 recruiting class. Granger, who was offered a scholarship in May by UNT's previous staff, left Denton on Sunday emptyhanded.

"I don't really know how that worked out," Osborn said of Granger. "I didn't know he was going to be there. I didn't think anything about it. We were both there, and we got to talking and hit it off. At first, we both didn't know how it was going to work with us both there and one spot. Were we going to not like each other? We talked about JUCO life, him being out in L.A. There was no hostility there at all. As far as what happened with the whole deal, I don't know."

Osborn (6-4, 210), who threw for more than 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns for 9-1 NWMCC, didn't get involved with UNT until late this season, either early this month or in late-November, he recalled. During his visit, McCarney's excitement, experience and the buzz around UNT's football offices impressed him most, as well as the overall facilities and soon-to-be new stadium. He said he talked it over with his parents on Monday and pulled the trigger.

"He knows what it takes to win," Osborn said of McCarney. "He's bringing a lot of passion. It was a great vibe and great connection with all the coaches. I didn't know any other coach besides [Mike] Canales, but I hit it off well with everyone else."

Osborn won a three-quarterback battle last summer to start for NWMCC after transferring from Georgia Southern, which made a coaching change after his redshirt freshman season. GSU hired Georgia Tech's running backs coach and switched to the triple option, which Osborn gutted out learning through spring practice before making the decision to leave.

"It was in my best interest to get out while I could," Osborn said. "I had burned up my redshirt year, and I had to get out of there, find a place where I could get some playing time and hopefully be the guy. I chose Northwest Mississippi so I wouldn't have to sit out a year, and I got some experience. I tried to stick it out (at GSU), but when you're 6-4, 210, you're not made for the triple option. It was pretty funny watching me back there doing it. I had a good spring game, and I left on good terms."

Osborn said he actually kept in touch with GSU's coaching staff throughout the recruiting process to gauge feedback and suggestions. He said he wants to play at 220 pounds but knows he won't be given the job at UNT when spring ball starts.

"I know anywhere I go I'll have to compete," he said. "My plan is to go in, play to the best of my ability and do some things to catch the coaches' eyes and hopefully become the man and take over the starting spot. Nothing's a given. I'm going to have to work for that. I know Riley Dodge is a good athlete and they have other good quarterbacks but were plagued with injuries. I can't go in and just mess around."

He said UNT's turnaround will start with his recruiting class, which was McCarney's pervasive message.

"I'm excited about being part of it," he said. "This class coming in, I'll be one of the guys who turned it around. I wanted to play somewhere that gave me a chance to win with coaches who know how to win. They'll have the nicest stadium in the conference and the newest in the nation. It's going to be really nice."

Osborn joins Galena Park (Texas) North Shore defensive back Kendrick Ruben, Sugar Land (Texas) Kempner receiver/cornerback Jamone Greer, North Garland (Texas) linebacker Derek Akunne, Sunnyvale (Texas) offensive lineman Emeka Okafor, San Antonio Warren receiver Marcus Smith and Butte (Calif.) Community College defensive tackle Ronnell Wright as UNT 2011 commits.

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