The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 40: UNT’s Jalen Guyton
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
Jalen Guyton was Kyler Murray’s go-to target on the Allen team that went 16-0 and won the Class 6A DI state title for the third consecutive year in 2014. As a senior, Guyton hauled in 82 receptions for 1,770 yards and 22 touchdowns and he was ranked as one of the Top 300 players in the country. He ended up signing with Notre Dame, but was redshirted and eventually dismissed from the program in December 2015.
Guyton went on to shine at Trinity Valley Community College, where the change of scenery certainly paid off. He caught 45 passes for 968 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping the Cardinals to a 7-3 record. Guyton signed with North Texas back in February as one of the top junior college wide receivers in the country.
Guyton brings a lot of speed and down-the-field playmaking ability to the Mean Green. In each of his last two stops, Guyton has averaged more than 20 yards per catch – 21.6 yards as a senior at Allen and 21.5 yards as a redshirt freshman at Trinity Valley. That explosive production will be welcome in Denton, where head coach Seth Littrell and offensive coordinator Graham Harrell enter year two looking to transition into more of an air-raid scheme on offense.
North Texas struggled to move the ball through the air last season as the Mean Green ranked 11th in Conference USA with an average of just 192.8 passing yards per game. Mason Fine now has a year of experience under his belt, but there is a lot of turnover in the receiving corps. Thaddeous Thompson, Terian Goree and Kenny Buyers combined for 1,197 yards as three of the team’s top four receivers last year. Turner Smiley (328 yards) returns as a senior, but the Mean Green were in desperate need of help on the perimeter of the offense. Guyton provides that, and his production down the field will be key to helping the team improve through the air this season.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.