Nation's top linebacker turning heads at The Opening, says Clemson is in the mix


by - Staff Writer -
Dean during Sunday workouts at The Opening
Dean during Sunday workouts at The Opening

FRISCO, TX – The nation’s top linebacker is turning heads as the competition heats up at Nike’s The Opening Finals at The Star.

Four-star Horn Lake (MS) linebacker Nakobe Dean tested well during the first day of competition and more than held his own in the ‘Make Them Miss’ competition Sunday night at Dallas Cowboys world headquarters.

While other players and spectators may not have known just how good Dean is, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has been recruiting the 2019 prospect to come to man the all-important middle linebacker spot in Clemson’s defense.

“It just shows you how hard they're recruiting me and how much Coach Venables sees me fitting in their defense,” Dean told TigerNet Sunday evening. “He's cool and they probably talk to more and have more communication, but every school is recruiting me hard.”

Dean visited Clemson in May and came away impressed with all of the facilities, but more importantly how the Clemson football staff takes care of its players.

“It went good. It went great. I got to visit and basically, I got to see everything,” Dean said. “The education and the development as a player really stood out. The biggest things that stood out to my mama was my well-being. She said it seems like at Clemson that I would be well off.”

The 6-0, 216-pound inside linebacker spent time with Venables, who broke down what it means to play linebacker at Clemson.

“The basically told me how I would fit in the defense, what I would do at my position and what would their expectations of me would be once I got there,” he said. “Coach Venables got fired up when he was talking about ball with me. It was all great. He basically said that if I do decide to go there, my first play on the field, he's going to send me on a blitz.”

A decision will come before Dean’s senior season, but he said right now all of his top teams are even.

“I plan on making a decision this summer. Clemson is level with my top schools,” he said. “My other top schools are Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State. I will choose the school that is the best fit for me. I feel like every school is good but I want to go to the best fit for me and a school with everything rolled into one.”

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