Even as a freshman, Nakobe Dean started every game and became a leader for the football team at Horn Lake High School. The 17-year-old linebacker played basketball, baseball and football but focused on football when he broke his wrist during his sophomore year.
“I was pretty sure he was going to go with football,” said Boyette. “He just looks like a linebacker.”
Dean lives in Horn Lake, Mississippi with his mom and sister. He started with flag football and went on to play in middle school, where he met a group of friends that now play on the Horn Lake team with him.
Dean said he hangs out with his friends when he isn’t studying or playing. “We can just show up at each other’s houses and walk in,” he said.
When Dean got serious about football, his family was supportive, but he said that they wanted him to do well in school as the first priority.
“They told me that if I made good grades, I could play. It was very clear,” Dean said. This helped Dean keep everything in perspective; Boyette said his work pays off because he has a very good GPA and his driven personality.
Boyette said he manages his time in such a way that he doesn’t fall behind in school. He said Dean differentiates himself from other high school students because he devotes time every day to working without his phone, friends or other distractions.
“He is never late to a practice or a meeting,” he said. “Nakobe is the most purpose driven high school player I have ever dealt with. Whatever you put in front of him, he wants to be the very best at it.”
Dean has an unwavering commitment to his family, said Boyette. His loyalty makes him a natural leader and his teammates trust him. “Ask anyone on the team who leads and they will say Nakobe Dean,” said Boyette.
“Normally this kind of attention and recruiting can create animosity in the locker room but he is so level-headed that there is not an ounce of animosity there,” said Boyette. Dean said he remembers the surreal feeling when getting his first offer.
“My friends and I always said we were going to get out and play football in college. Now, we have the opportunity,” Dean said. “It’s awesome.”