Shorter for fireworks blog

North Texas wide receiver Jyaire Shorter runs with the ball after catching a pass last season in a win over UTEP. Shorter is one of UNT's most explosive players.

We are now just hours away from the annual July 4 fireworks shows across the country.

And that raises the question: Which North Texas players can Mean Green fans count on to create some fireworks for UNT's offense this fall?

UNT has always been an offense-first outfit under coach Seth Littrell. He'll have quite a few top offensive skill position players at his disposal.

Here are a look at a few of UNT's more explosive players.

Jyaire Shorter, wide receiver

Shorter burst on to the scene last season and averaged a whopping 19.7 yards per catch. Only two players who qualified for the Conference USA leaders list averaged more yards per catch then Shorter, including UAB's Kendall Parham, who led the league at 21.0 yards per catch.

Shorter is one of the fastest players on UNT's roster and has great size at 6-2 and 215 pounds.

The big question for Shorter is if anyone can replace Mason Fine and get him the ball.

Tre Siggers, running back

Siggers led UNT with six rushing touchdowns last season. He is known more for his power as a runner, but he did break off a 53-yard run last season.

Siggers averaged 5.6 yards per carry. He'll have plenty of opportunities to make big plays in UNT's offense.

Deion Hair-Griffin, kick returner/wide receiver

Hair-Griffin emerged as a weapon in the return game last season, when he returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in UNT's season-opening win over Abilene Christian.

He also set up a field goal that gave UNT a win over Middle Tennessee with a 50-yard return and posted a 71-yard return in a win over UTEP.

UNT is hoping the talent Hair-Griffin showed last season in the return game will translate to offense, where he is a receiver.

DeAndre Torrey, running back

Torrey saw his role diminish with the emergence of Siggers last season but still managed to rush for 380 yards in 10 games. He's broken off big runs throughout his time at UNT.

Torrey should be in line for a few more this fall.

Jaelon Darden, wide receiver

Darden led UNT in all three major receiving categories in 2019, when he caught 76 passes for 736 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Darden averaged just 9.7 yards per catch, a total that ranked 12th on the team. He isn't as flashy as UNT's other receivers but is one of the Mean Green's best and most consistent players.

Jason Pirtle, tight end

Tight ends are a big part of UNT's offense, and Pirtle was the most productive player in the group last season.

The converted wide receiver scored five touchdowns on just 17 catches last season when he rolled up 263 receiving yards.

He won't be catching passes for Fine, his old high school teammate, but should be a key weapon for UNT again this fall.

Deonte Simpson, wide receiver

UNT elected to play Simpson in his freshman season after it lost Rico Bussey Jr. for the year. Simpson responded by catching 18 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns in nine games.

Simpson is one of UNT's top young players and has a bright future ahead of him.

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

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