Although the 2015 season did not turn out the way Nikolas Dean had envisioned, the Horn Lake High offensive lineman nnow has his sights set on something that could very well set the tone for his young life for the next four years.
National Signing Day.
A 6-foot, 230-pound senior, Dean enjoyed a stellar career for the Eagles, although his final prep season ended with Horn Lake limping to a 2-10 finish.
Still, during a high school stint whereby Dean enjoyed success virtually on both sides of the ball for coach Brad Boyette’s squad, he’s confident he will fulfill his long-waited dream of putting his football skills on display at the collegiate level.
According to Dean, who is ranked as the 105th best player in tradition-rich Mississippi according to Maxpreps.com, he has generated interest from several schools, most notably Mississippi State, Jackson State, Grambling State, University of Memphis, and Ole Miss, among others.
National Signing Day is February 3.
When asked to assess his career his Horn Lake, Dean, a Carbondale, Illinois native, said he senses he had done enough to persuade college coaches to grant him the opportunity to play next Fall.
“I love football because it’s a sport that has always come naturally to me,” Dean told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I love the contact of the sport. I really know the sport and I have passion for it.”
Dean’s parents, Byron and Neketta Dean, said that while their son has endured his share of challenges during the course of his high school career, they are mostly impressed by how he has gone about assuming the businesslike approach for a player who’s auditioning for a full ride athletic scholarship.
Byron and Neketta’s son, Nakobe Dean, is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound freshman linebacker for Horn Lake.
“I’m happy because he’s happy,” Neketta said of Nikolas Dean. “It’s been challenging, but I’ve always told him to keep God first and that he can do all things through Christ and to remember that he’s a champion and not a contestant. He was born to succeed and he possesses the heart and passion (for football).”
All of which is why the Deans believe the possibility exist that they will be watching their son play football on Saturdays around this time next season.
As Nikolas’ mother’s tells it, her son’s body of work as an efficient athletic speaks for itself.
“Nikolas began playing football at the age of five,” Neketta Dean explains. “I was excited about his enthusiasm, energy, and love for the game. Every weekend was and is monopolized with games, events, and activities surrounding football. It was tiresome, especially working full time up to 50 hours-plus a week at times and having to attend the games. Nevertheless, our presence was a highlight for him and encouraged him to play harder.”
Now with National Signing Day a little more than two months away, Nikolas Dean and his family are now waiting with great expectancy to see which school will ultimately extend to him an offer to suit up in a college football uniform next fall.
Let alone set the tone for his young life for the next four years.
“My parents have always encouraged and supported me to strive at being successful in everything I do,” Nikolas Dean said.
Something about which several college scouts have already taken into account.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.