CLEMSON -- Less than two days after saying in an interview that he liked Georgia, Greenwood kicker Jad Dean has made a commitment...but it wasn't to the Bulldogs. This strong legged senior has committed his services to the Clemson Tigers.
"I was ready to go to Georgia this week and commit if they offered," said Dean, "but I was not prepared for this."
But that was before Coach Shell Dula ran into Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden at the High School Athletic Coaches Convention in Charleston.
"Coach Dula said that Coach Bowden told him they wanted to offer," said Dean. "So Coach Dula called me and said Coach Bowden wanted me to call him. We talked for a while and he offered me a scholarship and I was floored."
This is a dream come true for Dean, who grew up in Greenwood and has wanted to be a Clemson Tiger since he was old enough to walk.
He began playing football in seventh grade at Northside Middle School as a wide receiver. After realizing that Dean had talent as a kicker, the coaches told him not worry about wide receiver and just kick. He attended his first camp that summer at Appalachian State and has been kicking evey since. He's attended Ray Guy's kicking camps every since eighth grade.
"I honestly didn't think I'd have this opportunity," said Dean. "I didn't think Clemson would offer a kicker and I was prepared to go out of state. This is like a dream come true."
The senior has an impressive list of suiters including Georgia, LSU,Virgina, Notre Dame, FSU, Wake forest, and UNC.
In practice, there are few with stronger legs. Dean has nailed kicks of 60+ yards there. But his game stats are pretty impressive too. He was 4 of 5 on field goal attempts last season with a long of 48. His PAT stats for 2001 were 46 of 48. In 2000, the year the Eagles won their last state title, Dean was 52 of 55 on PAT's and 10 of 14 on field goals with a long of 45.
He's also started on two South Carolina AAAA-Division II State Championship teams. Those two rings have been the highlight of his career. Now, the thought of running down the hill, rubbing the rock, and wearing the orange has overtaken the place of those rings.
"I've been praying about this decision for several days," said Dean, "and I actually dreamed that Clemson offered. I just have to praise God for the gifts He's given me and the opportunity He's blessed me with."
2003 Reported Commitments
OL JARROD BRITT 6-5 270 POWDER SPRINGS, GA
QB C.J. GADDIS 6-1 197 RAEFORD, NC
K JAD DEAN 5-11, 190 GREENWOOD, SC
Jim Baxter is the editor of GAVarsity.com and SCVarsity.com.