New North Texas defensive coordinator Phil Bennett left little doubt what he values when it comes to players earlier this spring.
“Where I differ from a lot of people is I don’t dwell on size,” Bennett said. “I’m a speed guy. I go by the philosophy that speed kills. And I want movement. I want guys who can run.”
UNT took another step toward building that type of defense late Friday night when it landed a commitment from Sean-Thomas Faulkner, a graduate transfer from The Citadel.
Faulkner played a key role in the last three seasons for The Citadel and comes to UNT with two seasons of eligibility remaining. He announced his decision on his Twitter account.
“Back to work,” Faulkner wrote in his tweet.
The South Carolina native finished with 40 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage, in just four games last season at strong safety.
Faulkner will move to linebacker and will likely play a key role on special teams at UNT. He blocked two punts in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons at The Citadel.
Faulkner started for the Bulldogs in each of the last three seasons. He will be undersized for a linebacker at the Football Bowl Subdivision level at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds but could add speed and playmaking ability to UNT’s defense that will look dramatically different next season under Bennett.
UNT is shifting to a scheme with a base four-man front after playing with a three-man front last season. Bennett has employed a 4-2-5 scheme throughout his career and could use Faulkner as a hybrid linebacker/safety.
Faulkner is the latest transfer UNT has added as it looks to revamp a defense that allowed 42.8 points per game last season. The Mean Green landed Arkansas transfer defensive tackle Enoch Jackson this week.
UNT previously added Rice cornerback TyRae Thornton and Kilgore College defensive tackle Kalvin Hutchings, who joined the team at the semester break.
The Mean Green have also added several transfers on the offensive side of the ball and will find out this week if another is on the way.
Charleston Southern graduate transfer offensive lineman Daviyon McDaniel is set to announce his destination on Monday. UNT is among the teams recruiting McDaniel.