Nakobe Dean is getting pretty good at giving speeches these days. That’s because he picked up another national award on Saturday night.
The Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s National Lineman of the Year and Under Armour All-American is already a freshman at UGA.
Dean already has the 2018 Dick Butkus Award back home in Mississippi. He was recognized with that honor after being selected as the nation’s top prep linebacker.
He was also named as the 2018 Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year.
Dean, who is already a freshman in Athens earning respect during winter workouts, was in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night as a finalist for the Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award.
He walked away with the Watkins Memorial Award on Saturday night, too.
That decision will now place Dean in select company with the likes of former Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs, Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
“Nakobe Dean is an amazing young man,” said J. Everette Pearsall, executive director of The Alliance. “We were very impressed with his contributions in the community, his excellence in the classroom and his success on the football field. As the Standard Bearer of the Watkins Class of 2019, we know that he will continue leading by example at the University of Georgia. Nakobe and the other members of this year’s Watkins Class are an incredible group and we look forward to following the next step of their careers.”
This one, according to his mother Neketta Dean, was “shocking” to Dean and his family.
“Ever since I was little, my parents told me that education will take me farther than my athletic ability and I’ve hung my hat on that,” Dean said via a press release. “I want to thank the Watkins Award for having me here and allowing me to have this experience.”
The Watkins Award is presented by the National Alliance of African-American Athletes. That group was founded in 1989 to empower African American males through athletics, education and public programs.
The Nakobe Dean resume both on and off the field
The Georgia freshman led Horn Lakes (Miss.) to a 15-0 record and the school’s first state title. He did so while recording 176 tackles from his middle linebacker spot.
Yet his high school resume is filled with a lot more than Hudl highlight clips. It was what he did off-the-field as a prep prospect which made him a strong contender for this honor.
His off-the-field accomplishments include:
- A 4.3 grade-point average
- Member of the National Honor Society
- Volunteering as an elementary school mentor
- Toys for Tots volunteer
- Homeless shelter volunteer
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- 4-H Consumer Judging event
The 6-foot, 220-pound college freshman never made a “B” in high school at Horn Lakes. The last time he brought one of those on his report card was back in the seventh grade.
That was in a business education course that focused on typing. DawgNation was told the reason why he didn’t crack a 90 in that class was that his massive hands and fingers were too big to type accurately with speed at that time.
Since 1992, The Alliance has annually presented the Watkins Award to the nation’s elite high school student-athlete. The award is named for the late Franklin D. Watkins, who coached championship football and basketball teams in Harrisburg, Pa.
Dean was one of five honorees in the 2019 Watkins Class. The 2019 Watkins Class was selected based on their unweighted grade-point average, personal statement, extracurricular activities, community service and letters of recommendation.
The other members of the Watkins Class of 2019 are Jaylen Coleman of Charlotte, who signed with Duke University; Aeneas DiCosmo of Montclair, New Jersey, who signed with Stanford University; Elijah Higgins of Austin, Texas, who signed with Stanford University; and Roschon Johnson of Port Arthur, Texas, who has enrolled at the University of Texas.
Dean was the choice from a pool of finalists which include two student-athletes on their way to Stanford and another that will be at Duke.
That should show just how impressed the selection committee was with Dean.
Nakobe Dean wasn’t the only big UGA winner this weekend
Nolan Smith, the other 5-star freshman LB in the 2019 class for the Bulldogs, also got to step out in a tuxedo this weekend for the Maxwell Award in New Jersey.
Smith was in Atlantic City. The Maxwell Award chose to honor him as its National High School Defensive Player of the Year for the 2018 season.
This was a presentation ceremony for an honor announced earlier this year at the 2019 All-American Bowl in Texas.
— Maxwell Football (@MaxwellFootball) March 9, 2019
Smith, a Georgia native, spent the last two seasons at IMG Academy in Florida. He finished the 2019 recruiting cycle rated as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for this class based off the 247Sports Composite ratings.