Dan McCarney's staff at North Texas had a fondness for East Texas football players, so it was a little concerning when the Mean Green athletics department opted to let him go during the season.

Would the new Denton-based staff be as friendly toward the region, or did a handful of scholarship opportunities evaporate?

The answer began to emerge Saturday. Alto athlete Keenen Johnson reported through his personal Twitter account that North Texas, under brand new head coach Seth Littrell, gave him a college football scholarship opportunity.

Johnson committed to Tulsa in favor of other offers from Louisiana-Lafayette and SMU on Friday. The Mean Green's invitation upped him to four FBS choices.

Alto's athlete is in good standing to finish the season as East Texas' leading rusher despite the fact his team has been eliminated for three weeks. He recorded 2,669 ground yards and 38 touchdowns on 217 carries as a quarterback.

The only player that can catch Johnson is Waskom running back Chan Amie, as his team plays in the Class 3A Division II state championship game on Thursday. Amie would need 255 yards in that game to become the region's leading rusher.

Johnson's numbers impress further than what he did offensively.

As a defensive back, he recorded more defensive interceptions than he threw in his 98 passing attempts -- three picks to two thrown on offense.

The prospect also made 42 tackles, forced three fumbles and broke up eight passes through Alto's 11-1 season.

Johnson finished the 2014 and 2015 regular seasons as the area's leading rusher. He was awarded the ETSN.fm Offensive Newcomer of the Year award at the end of last season.

North Texas could give Johnson something to think about despite recent struggles culminating with a 1-11 campaign to close the current year. Denton is a popular destination for local prospects with 11 current players hailing from East Texas high schools.

Former John Tyler receiver Rodney Bendy and Marshall offensive linemen Chett Munden are the closest in age to Johnson. They graduated from high school this past May.

Littrell's program isn't all that far removed from success. His new team won the Heart of Dallas Bowl to end its 2013 season.

While Johnson is verbally committed to Tulsa, it's a non-binding agreement. He'll become eligible to sign with any school that offers him on Feb. 3.

2016 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers

  • Austin Anderson, OL, Mineola, 6-4, 289 – committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Arizona State, Arkansas State, Auburn, California, Cincinnati, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, North Texas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt (27)
  • Riley Anderson, OL, Mineola, 6-5, 287 – committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Arizona State, Arkansas State, Auburn, California, Cincinnati, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, North Texas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt (27)
  • Demarco Boyd, RB/LB, Gilmer, 6-0, 215 — signed with Texas; additional offers from Baylor, Florida State, Texas A&M (4)
  • Gabe Foster, RB/DB, Newton, 6-3, 180 — offers from Arkansas State, Purdue, Texas State, ULL, ULM (5)
  • Ke’Mon Freeman, QB/ATH, Liberty-Eylau, 5-11, 188 – offers from Arkansas State, North Texas, SMU (3)
  • Travon Fuller, CB, Athens, 6-0, 160 — committed to Texas A&M (1)
  • Alex Gregory, WR, Nacogdoches, 5-11, 175 — committed to Stephen F. Austin; additional offers from Texas State, ULM (2)
  • Zach Hall, ATH, Tyler Lee, 5-11, 170 – offers from Baylor, Missouri, Texas Tech (3)
  • La’Darius Hamilton, LB, Corrigan-Camden, 6-1, 220 — offers from Texas State, ULL (2)
  • Adrian Harris, OL, John Tyler, 6-2, 290 — offer from ULM (1)
  • Tanner Holmes, LB, Newton, 6-3, 220 — committed to ULL (1)
  • Jerrod Johnson, OL, Lufkin, 6-2, 290 — offer from ULM (1)
  • Keenen Johnson, ATH, Alto, 6-1, 190 – committed to Tulsa; additional offers from North Texas, SMU, ULL (4)
  • Brandon Jones, S, Nacogdoches, 6-0, 190 — offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Boise State, California, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, SMU, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Washington State (40)
  • Braylon Jones, DT, John Tyler, 6-3, 285 – committed to Houston; additional offers from Air Force, Army, Colorado State, Navy (5)
  • Corey Lane, S, 5-11, 185 – offer from Louisiana Tech (1)
  • Bronson Massie, DE/LB, Lufkin 6-3, 202 – offers from California, Colorado State, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State, Washington (6)
  • Jarrod McLin, DE, Carthage, 6-4, 212 – committed to UTSA; additional offer from ULL (2)
  • Denzel Mims, WR, Daingerfield, 6-4, 180 – committed to Baylor; additional offers from Arkansas State, North Texas, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa (6)
  • Cody Mitchell, TE, Jasper, 6-5, 225 — committed to ULL; additional offers from Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Missouri, Texas State, (5)
  • Jordan Morales, DL, Tyler Bishop Gorman, 6-3, 275 – offer from UTEP (1)
  • Reshawn Parker, RB, Hooks, 6-1, 210 -- offer from Oklahoma State (1)
  • Kendrick Rogers, WR, Frankston, 6-6, 207 — committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Mississippi State, North Texas, SMU, ULL, ULM (11)
  • Micahh Smith, DB, Marshall, 5-11, 185 — offer from Texas State (1)
  • Aphonso Thomas, RB, Van, 5-10, 180 — committed to SMU; additional offers from Colorado State, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, SMU, Texas State (6)
  • Jeremy West, OL/DL, Chapel Hill, 6-2, 297 — committed to Northwestern State; additional offer from ULL (1)
  • Andre Wiley Jr., OLB/S, Liberty-Eylau, 5-10, 170 – offers from Arkansas State, Army, Louisiana Tech, Navy, Texas State, Wyoming (6)