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Report: North Texas adds FCS running back transfer

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North Texas is adding running back Loren Easly to the roster, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Saturday.

Easly spent the past two seasons at Stephen F. Austin, a member of the FCS Southland Conference. A Houston native, he appeared in 20 games over two seasons as a Lumberjack, carrying 213 times for 1,256 yards with 11 touchdowns while adding 17 catches for 139 yards.

Denton Record-Chronicle reporter Brett Vito confirmed the transfer on his Twitter account.

As an interdivisional transfer, Easly will be able to play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He would join a backfield led by rising senior Jeffrey Wilson, who paced the Mean Green with 936 yards and 14 touchdowns on 169 carries in 2016.

President Donald Trump announces future FBS foes for Liberty football in commencement address

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While we may all try to stick to sports nowadays, sometimes one just can’t help but see politics cross streams a bit with college football. Case in point came on Saturday as President Donald Trump announced the future FBS opponents for Liberty University, where the he gave the commencement address for the class of 2017.

Jerry (Fallwell Jr.), are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Trump said while reading off the names of the opponents. “Auburn? I don’t know about that. This could be trouble.”

Liberty received a waiver earlier this year from the NCAA to make the move to FBS full-time and will play several top-tier opponents in 2018 as part of that transition from the FCS level. Per the schedule released by the school afterward, here are the FBS schools who have scheduled games with the Flames and the dates of their future meetings:

Army
Sept. 8, 2018 – Liberty at Army
Nov. 27, 2021 – Army at Liberty
Sept. 20, 2025 – Liberty at Army
Nov. 28, 2026 – Army at Liberty

Auburn
Nov. 17, 2018 – Liberty at Auburn

BYU
Nov. 9, 2019 – Liberty at BYU
Oct. 22, 2022 – BYU at Liberty

Buffalo
Sept. 14, 2019 – Buffalo at Liberty
Sept. 16, 2023 – Liberty at Buffalo

Old Dominion
Sept. 1, 2018 – Old Dominion at Liberty

Ole Miss
Nov. 13, 2021 – Liberty at Ole Miss

Massachusetts (UMass)
Nov. 3, 2018 – Liberty at UMass

New Mexico
Sept. 29, 2018 – Liberty at New Mexico
Sept. 28, 2019 – New Mexico at Liberty

New Mexico State
Oct. 6, 2018 – Liberty at New Mexico State
Nov. 24, 2018 – New Mexico State at Liberty
Oct. 5, 2019 – Liberty at New Mexico State
Nov. 30, 2019 – New Mexico State at Liberty

North Texas
Sept. 22, 2018 – North Texas at Liberty
Oct. 9, 2021 – Liberty at North Texas

Rutgers
Oct. 26, 2019 – Liberty at Rutgers

Troy
Oct. 13, 2018 – Troy at Liberty

Virginia
Nov. 10, 2018 – Liberty at Virginia
Nov. 23, 2019 – Liberty at Virginia
Sept. 11, 2027 – Virginia at Liberty

Virginia Tech
Sept. 5, 2020 – Liberty at Virginia Tech

Wake Forest
Sept. 17, 2022 – Liberty at Wake Forest
Aug. 30, 2025 – Wake Forest at Liberty
Sept. 3, 4 or 5, 2026 – Liberty at Wake Forest

Liberty will be an FCS independent during the upcoming season before transitioning into an FBS independent in 2018. The school will not be bowl eligible until 2019, when they will have fully made the move up a level to become a full-time FBS program.

North Texas, SMU extend series with four more games

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North Texas and SMU jointly announced Monday the two sides have extended their on-going home-and-home series with four more games.

The Mean Green and Mustangs will meet Sept. 1, 2018 in Denton, Sept. 7, 2019 in Dallas, Sept. 5, 2020 in Denton, and Sept. 11, 2021 in Dallas.

The Interstate 35 rivals meet annually from 1922 through 1942, resumed their series on a near-annual basis from 1974 through SMU 1992, and then again picked up the rivalry on an annual basis in 2014.

SMU holds a 30-5-1 all-time lead and owns a 2-game winning streak, including a 34-21 win on Sept. 3 of last season. The pair will meet Sept. 9 in Dallas.

North Texas also announced a home-and-home with Texas Tech earlier this month.

North Texas regents approve new five-year deal for Seth Littrell

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In the year prior to Seth Littrell‘s arrival in Denton, North Texas went through an abysmal one-win season.  Twelve months later, they participated in the postseason.  A couple of months after that, the football program’s head coach has been rewarded for the immediate turnaround.

In a press release Friday afternoon, UNT announced that the university and Littrell have reached an agreement on a new five-year deal.  The school’s Board of regents has already signed off on the contract.

With the new deal, the 38-year-old Littrell is now signed through the 20121 season.

There’s no official word yet as to what financial enhancements were included as part of the new pact.  Last season, his first as a head coach, Littrell was paid $815,000.  That number was third among Conference USA coaches in 2016 according to USA Today‘s salary database.

“We are excited to announce this new agreement with coach Littrell,” said athletic director Wren Baker in a statement. “Under one of the brightest young coaches in the country, our football program had the second-best turnaround in the nation last season and his performance was recognized by his colleagues and media members around the nation. This new contract represents an aggressive move to keep coach Littrell, his staff, and their positive momentum intact. This is validation of the successful efforts that Seth has led in the early stages of the turnaround of North Texas football.”

While the Mean Green finished the 2016 regular season 5-7, they were one of the five-win teams to qualify for a bowl game.  It was the program’s first bowl appearance since 2013 and just the second in the last dozen years.

The four-win turnaround from the previous season was the second-best at the FBS level.

Mean Green DC Mike Ekeler formally announced as Tar Heels’ LBs coach

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North Carolina’s reported poaching of North Texas’ coaching staff is officially official.

UNC acknowledged in a press release Friday that Mike Ekeler has been hired as the Tar Heels’ new linebackers coach.  Ekeler will take over the job previously held by John Papuchis, who was promoted to defensive coordinator after Gene Chizik abruptly stepped down to spend more time with his family.

“We’re thrilled to add Mike to our coaching staff,” said head coach Larry Fedora in a statement. “He’s a well-respected, energetic coach who has worked with other members of our defensive staff in the past, which will make the transition to Carolina that much easier. He’s an outstanding coach and recruiter who will be a great fit for our program. We look forward to having Mike and his wife and kids join the UNC family.”

Ekeler spent the 2016 season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Mean Green. Prior to joining UNT, he spent two seasons as inside linebackers coach at Georgia.

He’s also worked on coaching staffs at USC (2013), Indiana (2011-12), Nebraska (2008-10), LSU (2005-07) and Oklahoma (2003-04).  At the latter two stops, Ekeler served as a graduate assistant.