The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 21: UNT’s Bryce English
AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.
The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.
50 – Lamar DE Daniel Crosley / 49 – TCU WR KaVontae Turpin / 48 – UTEP QB Ryan Metz
47 – UMHB RB Markeith Miller / 46 – Sam Houston State DE PJ Hall / 45 – Baylor WR Blake Lynch
44 – Texas Tech WR Jonathan Giles (transferred) / 43 – Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
42 – PVAMU WR Joshua Simmons / 41 – Rice RB Samuel Stewart / 40 – UNT WR Jalen Guyton
39 – Texas RB Chris Warren / 38 – Rice OL Trey Martin / 37 – Texas A&M Commerce QB Luis Perez
36 – Baylor DL K.J. Smith / 35 – Texas State LB Gabe Loyd / 34 – Texas State WR Thurman Morbley
33 – Houston DB Khalil Williams / 32 – Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks / 31 – SFA DL John Franklin
30 – SMU DE Justin Lawler / 29 – Texas State QB Damian Williams / 28 – ACU QB Dallas Sealey
27 – UTSA QB Dalton Sturm / 26 – Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams / 25 – UTSA WR Josh Stewart
24 – TCU LB Travin Howard / 22 – Texas Tech OL Travis Bruffy / 21 – Rice LB Emmanuel Ellerbee
It’s been a long ride from Desoto High School back to the playing field at North Texas for Bryce English. After a standout career with the Eagles, English took his talents to Kansas State. But when his father Lee – who played running back at North Texas – was diagnosed with cancer, English decided to transfer to UNT shortly after the arrival of coach Seth Littrell to be closer to his family. He redshirted as a freshman at Kansas State and had hoped for a hardship waiver from the NCAA to get on the field for the Mean Green last season, but the waiver was never granted. English was forced to the sidelines for the second straight year.
It’s been two years since English has taken the field for a game, but he is finally set to join the North Texas defensive front this year. English was a three-star recruit coming out of DeSoto, where he consistently dominated opposing offensive linemen. He was the District 8-6A co-defensive player of the year as a senior in 2014, when he racked up 56 tackles, 14 TFL, six sacks and three forced fumbles.
English may not have the prototypical height (5-11) for a defensive lineman, but at 305 lbs. he is a force to be reckoned with in the trenches. He has outstanding feet and has quickness that helps him make a living in opposing backfields. English’s skillset is almost a perfect fit for the three-man front UNT is running under defensive coordinator Troy Reffett, where his athleticism will surely cause problems for Conference USA offenses.
English was one of the first impact recruits Littrell was able to land after taking the job at UNT, and his long-awaited return to the field will finally be a reality in the fall. While he hasn’t taken a snap at the collegiate level yet, English has developed into a fan favorite in Denton and has actively promoted the new culture Littrell is trying to create. With several power-five offers coming out of high school, English will be one of the more highly regarded players on the Mean Green defense. His ability to play up to that level will be key for the Mean Green , as North Texas has to recover from a few key losses in the front seven heading into 2017.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.