Jake Roberts had a spot locked up in Tulsa’s recruiting class for a month before an opportunity came along he couldn’t pass up.
North Texas is working toward expanding the role of tight ends in its offense and offered Roberts a chance to play a role in the process.
The Norman North product decided to accept that challenge on Sunday night. Roberts announced that he had flipped from Tulsa to UNT on Twitter and talked about his decision a short time later.
“North Texas is like family and it’s a great fit for me,” Roberts said. “I loved it when I went down there on my visit. I like how they use the tight end. I think I can develop and really excel in that offense.”
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior is rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports. The website ranked him No. 55 on its composite rankings of the top tight ends in the class of 2020.
Oral commitments are nonbinding. The early signing period begins Dec. 18, with national signing day Feb. 5.
Roberts was offered a scholarship by Colorado, Memphis and Air Force, in addition to Tulsa.
UNT brought on Bodie Reeder as its offensive coordinator in the offseason after Graham Harrell left to take over in the same capacity at Southern Cal. The Mean Green worked through a series of adjustments in the spring under Reeder and head coach Seth Littrell, including making the tight end a bigger part of the offense.
Littrell spent most of his coaching career as an offensive coordinator and used tight ends extensively. He worked with Rob Gronkowski at Arizona and added Adrian Mayes as his first tight ends coach during his tenure with the Mean Green this spring.
That history and UNT’s plans played a key role in Roberts’ decision.
Mayes and running backs coach Patrick Cobbs, an Oklahoma native, recruited Roberts.
“I like the new offense, how they explained it and how they use the tight end,” Roberts said. “The coaches can maximize my potential. There will always be a tight end on the field.”
Roberts struggled with the decision to decommit from Tulsa, despite finding what he considered a better situation at UNT.
“You never want to do it, but you have to do what is best for you,” Roberts said.
The opportunity to play in UNT’s newly formed offense was just one reason Roberts committed to play for the Mean Green.
“North Texas is close to home, plus I like the fit and the environment,” Roberts said. “The program is headed in the right direction and this class can make a big difference.”
UNT has played in bowl games in each of the last three seasons and has won nine games in each of the last two years.
The momentum the Mean Green picked up in those three seasons has carried over to recruiting. UNT’s recruiting class is ranked No.1 among Conference USA teams by 247Sports and includes 15 players who are all ranked as three-star prospects.
Roberts is the second tight end in UNT’s class, joining Christian Lee of Friendswood. Lee has been selling several players on joining him at UNT, including Roberts.
“Christian is awesome,” Roberts said. “I’m looking forward to working with him.”