Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Dunham carries on family legacy, commits to UNT
As far back as Blake Dunham can remember, he's been a fan of the Mean Green.
After all, his father, George Dunham, has been a part of the Mean Green Radio Network for 20 seasons and the play-by-play voice since 1994, aside from being a personality on The Ticket.
So it only seems natural that Blake Dunham has orally committed to play football at North Texas after a standout career at Argyle.
Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day a recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 3.
"It's really a dream come true just because I've always been a North Texas fan growing up," the Argyle senior said. "It took a lot of hard work and the coaches pushed me to put on more weight and get faster and work hard in off-season. They thought I had that potential. It's really just a dream come true to get that opportunity to go play for North Texas."
Dunham, who was also garnering interest from Texas State, was a do-it-all player for the Eagles in 2009, as he helped lead them to a perfect regular season - the first in school history - and their first outright district championship before they were ousted from the Class 3A Division II playoffs by Texarkana Pleasant Grove in the third round.
From his outside linebacker position, Dunham (6-2, 200) finished the season as Argyle's second-leading tackler with 123, with six coming behind the line of scrimmage. He also forced three fumbles and had an interception.
The Argyle defense allowed a paltry 12.2 points per game in the regular season, and Dunham played a large part in that success even though he was a relative newcomer to the tight-knit, small-school feel in the Eagles' locker room.
Dunham moved in prior to his sophomore season after growing up in Coppell.
"I think our defensive success was just a collective [effort] among the senior leaders on the team, and he was an important cog in that," Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers said. "We had great unity, and it was probably a tribute to Blake to come in as an outsider and have a relationship with these kids that have been in Argyle for a long time. It speaks volumes to his work ethic and social skills to come in and fit in with these kids."
But Dunham can do much more than play outside linebacker.
He was the Eagles' deep snapper, which is a unique skill that college coaches often look for, and played on all of the team's special teams packages. He also saw spot offensive duty as a part of the Eagles' "Bulls Package", or short-yardage offense, and led the team in rushing touchdowns with seven even though he had just 19 carries.
"A lot of schools look for guys like that," Blake Dunham said. "If you can deep snap that's a big advantage. They're not really sure what I'm going to do for them, but it's a possibility I could play on either side of the ball really.
"I'm open to do whatever. I'm just glad for the opportunity to get to go play, so I'll play wherever they want to stick me."
UNT lost deep snapper Christian Davidson to graduation after last season, while his backup Troy Kokjohn will be a junior.
Dunham will be the first Denton area player to sign with UNT since Todd Dodge took over as the Mean Green's head coach before the beginning of the 2007 season.
UNT featured a few players from the area over the years, including tackle Victor Gill, another Argyle graduate. Gill received the Steve Ramsey Award that goes to UNT's outstanding offensive player at the team's annual awards banquet on Saturday and will be a senior next season.
"I think it'd be great if more kids started going there from around the area because I think it's definitely about to turn around there under [Dodge] because he's a great coach," he said. "Once he starts stacking up the win column, which he's going to do, it'll be much more attractive for players in the area."
And make no mistake, the versatile Dunham considers himself part of Argyle's close-knit community even though he has only spent three years there.
"I really liked the small-town feel of getting to know everybody," he said. "Everyone was real nice and took me with open arms. I feel like I've grown up here now just in the three years I've spent here. If someone asked me where I'm from, I'd definitely say Argyle just because of how much I've grown to like it."
As excited as Dunham is to play for the team he grew up rooting for, his father might have him trumped.
"I never really thought much about it until this year when he really started to excel, and I thought he had a chance to be a college player," George Dunham said. "I knew they [UNT] were interested in him right here in our backyard. It's very satisfying. Wherever he decided to go, I'm just proud of him that he's put himself in this position to play college football. It's not an easy thing. I've covered it for a long time and know it's a tough thing to do.
"I always wondered how [longtime television announcer and NFL Hall of Famer] Bob Griese called games [involving his son quarterback Brian Griese], but it won't be that bad because at least my son won't be playing quarterback."
Staff writer Brett Vito contributed to this report.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com . UNT COMMITMENTS
The following players have orally committed to become a part of UNT's 2010 recruiting class:
Butler (Kan.) CC
Pearl River (Miss.) CC
Butler (Kan.) CC
Butler (Kan.) CC