North Texas liked what it saw in Garland Lakeview Centennial senior Garnett Burke even before he became one of the more highly recruited defensive backs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
That early interest paid dividends Saturday when Burke was one of two players to commit to UNT.
“I felt comfortable at North Texas,” Burke said shortly after announcing his commitment on Twitter. “The coaches made feel at home and they were the first team to offer me. That meant a lot to me. They liked me as a player — they were not offering me because I had a lot of other offers.”
Killeen defensive tackle Ta’Shoyn Johnson also committed to UNT on Saturday.
Both are rated as three-star prospects by 247Sports.
Oral commitments are nonbinding. The early signing period begins Dec. 18, with national signing day to follow on Feb. 5.
Burke is No. 120 in 247Sports’ composite rankings of the top safeties in the class of 2020. He said he chose UNT over offers from nearly a dozen schools, including Kansas, SMU and Utah State, as well as Southern Mississippi, UTEP and Texas-San Antonio, three of the Mean Green’s rivals in Conference USA.
Burke, who is 6-1 and 170 pounds, was recruited by UNT defensive coordinator Troy Reffett and linebackers coach Galen Scott.
Burke visited UNT on Saturday in advance of the Mean Green’s recruiting camp on Sunday.
“They think I can play any of the five spots in the defensive backfield,” Burke said of UNT’s staff. “I feel like I am more of a safety.”
Burke felt at home at UNT during his weekend visit.
“It’s a real good fit for me,” Burke said. “It’s close to home. I am trying to be a hometown hero. The coaches said I’ll have a chance to play early.”
Johnson is also a highly regarded recruit. The 6-1, 285-pound senior is No. 116 in 247Sports composite rankings of the top defensive tackle prospects in the class of 2020.
Johnson was offered scholarships by 10 other schools, including Tulsa, Nevada, New Mexico and Louisiana-Monroe.
The addition of Burke and Johnson bolsters UNT’s early recruiting momentum.
The Mean Green have 12 players committed in what is currently ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in C-USA by 247Sports. Each of the recruits in UNT’s class is rated as a three-star prospect by the site.
Burke is hoping to help UNT add to its recruiting haul and talking to other players the school is involved with who are still considering their options.
“We have something going with this 2020 class,” Burke said. “I saw film of the other guys in the class. They are really good.”