De’Jahn Warren: Nation’s No. 1 JUCO cornerback shares why UGA made his top 3
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry is about all things De’Jahn Warren after the nation’s No. 1 junior college CB (247Sports Composite) dropped his recent top 3 on his mother’s birthday. Where do the Bulldogs stand? Read on.
Those that know him well call De’Jahn Warren many things: Loop. Dae. The Nugster.
In a lot of cases, the better a player is, the more nicknames he picks up. Warren has a lot of that in his story with one nickname that gets more time than all the others.
That’s Nugget. Check out the definitive DawgNation story to learn about that nickname, including how he went from just five varsity games in high school to junior college walk-on to rated as the nation’s No. 2 overall JUCO prospect.
In the spirit of such a cool nickname, let’s share some quick nuggets from a recent conversation with Warren after he dropped his top 3 schools.
This For My OG 🌹 Happy Birthday ❤️ pic.twitter.com/7dj2zJ5r0Q
— De’Jahn “Nugget” Warren (@Ayoooo_daeee) August 2, 2020
Those schools were Georgia, Maryland and Penn State.
- He dropped that top 3 list in honor of his mother Shannon Warren’s birthday. In that post, he called her his “OG” and that was some uncommon praise from a player from his mother. That tag is commonly given to uncles, fathers, brothers, former coaches and one-time trainers.
- Why did he honor her like that on her birthday? “My mom she put me on to the game so that’s why she’s my OG,” he said. “My mom and I have been through a lot together and she opened my eyes to a lot of things. She’s taught me a lot of things. That’s why I call her my OG.”
- He dropped down to a top three, but still plans to take all five of his officials. The other schools that were in his previously-released top 6 were Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
- Why a top 3? “For me, those are the best schools I feel like I will fit in at as of right now,” Warren said. “With the amount of time I have been talking to these schools, we have gotten to know each other and I like the way how each one of these schools are planning on using me at the next level.”
- Those schools blend good fit and good vibe with one other element. “I also like their roster situation by the time I am to come in. With whatever school I choose to go to, I know exactly like what their roster will look like at corner by the time I come in during January,” De’Jahn Warren said.
- At this time, he is still planning an official visit to UGA on Dec. 12. His current plan is to commit on Dec. 14 and sign during what he hopes will still be an early period on Dec. 16. “But you know,” he said. “Things can change.”
- This decision will be very hard. “This is mind wrecking,” he said. “I stay up until 5 o’clock sometimes in the morning. Staying up until 5 o’clock thinking about this decision.”
- If he can figure his choice out earlier, then he will make his decision prior to his Dec. 14 commitment day plan. “Just so I can get it over with but as of right now it is going to be December,” he said.
- What’s the first thing to comes to mind when he thinks of UGA? “I like their personality on the field,” Warren said. “That matches up with mine because I’m a very animated athlete. I like to have fun. But I am also disciplined. I’m not a tune-everybody-else-out athlete. I like to have a little bit of fun out there. The Georgia coaches allow their players to play with a little bit of swag and I like that.”
- The JUCO season set for this fall has shifted to the spring. That means he will try to take as many visits as possible during the 2020 season. His JUCO program will still work out as a team.
- His choice will be Georgia one day, Penn State the next and then drift to Maryland. As stated earlier, it is a burden. “Yes yes yes,” he said. “I can’t stress this enough. This is what makes it very hard. Because I promise you I have not been able to sleep for like the longest. My sleep schedule is like 50 shades of messed up. One day I am up at 3 o’clock. One day I am up until 6 o’clock. Maybe at 5 o’clock or maybe 4. My night doesn’t end early.”
- The “50 shades of messed up line” is a clever way to describe his ordeal but he’s chill with it. “This is okay,” he said. “This is what comes with it. I’m not going to be one to complain. This is the fun part for me. This is the suspense. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. People ask me ‘where are you going to go’ and I’m like I am honestly indecisive with them about it. I really don’t know yet.”
Breaking down that top 3 for De’Jahn “Nugget” Warren
There’s a clear reason why three schools now stand out to Warren.
“When I speak to them, I call tell that everything they are telling me is true and they genuine,” Warren said. “Also I did my own research. At each school, I know at least one player or someone that goes there. You feel me? I will reach out to them and ask them about certain coaches. Or I will ask them about the playbook.”
“I’ll just ask them questions about things that I feel like I really need to know. So once I had the information I needed to hear, I just went ahead and made my top 3.”
Warren was asked to cover a few topics on each school. We’ll catalog them here for context so this section can flow briskly.
Those topics were:
- Why each school made his top 3.
- What does he like best about each school?
- Does he have any other questions about that opportunity?
- What kind of relationships does he have with the players at each program?
With that said, let’s jump into what he had to say.
- (Why the Bulldogs made it) “They really do make me feel like I am a priority,” he said. “I get calls and text messages from these guys every day no matter what time it is and it is vice versa. I can call or text them and they will respond. I can call them no matter what time it is and they will answer.”
- (Best thing) “I like a lot of things about Georgia to be honest with you,” Warren said. “But the one thing I can say that I like the best is the relationship I have got with both the defensive coordinator [Dan Lanning], the head coach [Kirby Smart] and the defensive backs coach [Charlton Warren] at Georgia.”
- (Questions?) He’s got everything answered.
- (Relationships on the team) “I don’t know a lot of dudes from there,” he said. “I know one. Maybe two. But the one player I do know [Major Burns] we are close. I know he is going to give me the real deal about Georgia in any way. That’s my ‘Dawg.”
- (Why the Terps made it) “I like the way they are planning on using me and the relationship with all of their coaches. I know people there at Maryland as well,” Warren said. “Maryland, that’s the home town team, too.”
- (Best thing) “The thing about Maryland is the switch around since Coach [Mike] Locksley took over there with the program,” he said. “I talked to the players who actually go there. They said before Coach Locksley got there, the whole team demeanor was different. Once coach Locksley took over, everything changed for the better. He’s also gotten a lot of big names to commit to the hometown. So they must be doing something right.”
- (Questions?) He’s got everything answered.
- (Relationships on the team) “I’m just going to say a lot,” he added. “Even if I don’t know them, we know each other’s faces. We’ve done played against each other on 7-on-7s or something. I would say that I know more players at Maryland than Penn State.”
- (Why the Nittany Lions made it) “That’s a place I can see myself making plays for them,” he said. “I have got a great relationship with the head coach and the DB coach. Some of my teammates already go there so I know how those coaches operate.”
- (Best thing) “The things I like best about Penn State is how they are planning on using me and I like the fact that they are genuine people. Even before they offered me, I had a little bit of communication with Penn State. So I knew a little bit about them. My teammates that had actually committed there they used to talk to me about the program.”
- (Questions?) He’s got everything answered.
- (Relationships on the team) “I’d say I have a good relationship with maybe five players there.”
Georgia and Penn State had pretty similar game plans for using him. He’s very athletic and that allows those staffs to use him in a variety of roles.
“I will be blitzing from the corner,” he said. “I will possibly be returning a lot of kicks and I will be blocking punts. I will be playing some lone coverage. All the things that are fun for me.”
He feels valued by the UGA staff.
“We talk about more than football but whenever we do speak about sports it is how much I am a priority to them and how much they plan on using me,” he said. “We also talk about their roster situation and how they develop their players and things like that. I like what I am hearing and I did my research on what I am hearing and it is true.”
DJ Daniel, the top-rated JUCO cornerback prospect in 2019, was once in Warren’s shoes. He enrolled out of Georgia Military College last January and started 11 games that fall.
“Even though we are two different people it is kind of the same situation,” he said. “It is very similar actually. We both came from JUCO and once he went to Georgia he played in a lot of games. If I am going to go to Georgia, then I am going to earn a starting spot. That is going to be my whole plan there. If DJ can do it, then I can do it.”
De’Jahn Warren: Tough break … but an impressive outlook
Warren is a sharp and hopeful young man. It shines through in the little things he says in the course of a casual conversation. He’s just got a unique spirit about him despite a very pedestrian route to big-time college football.
“The road is different,” he said. “But I’ve still got the same goals as everyone else and other people. I am just going to do what I need to do to get to where I am trying to go.”
He will be 21 when he enrolls early at the college of his choice in January of 2021. If his grades were on point coming out of high school, he would have been a member of the 2017 recruiting class.
But they were not. It made it harder for him to get a break. He only had five varsity games of tape and had to walk on at Lackawanna Community College in Pennsylvania.
When a young man can still find a way to becoming the nation’s top junior college cornerback prospect despite that, there has to be an enduring outlook here. That outlook somehow finds a way into every conversation with Warren.
When the phone interview for this post wrapped up, there was a parting “have a great day man” sent his way.
“Hope you have an even better one,” Warren replied on Monday afternoon.
That perspective he has on life persevers. Even after the global pandemic has now wiped away spring football and now his entire junior college season this fall. The governing body for junior college football announced earlier this summer it was moving JUCO football to the spring.
“My mindset is I’m not going to stress myself out,” he said. “I’m just going to take things day by day. I don’t plan a whole lot. I just wake up and go do it. If I start to think heavy [thoughts] about all of these things, then I will start to stress myself out. I’m not going to stress myself out over things I cannot control.”
When his current team plays its next game, he’ll be on the campus of Georgia, Maryland or Penn State.
“When they took our season away I was so upset,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you. Because when they took the spring away, I already didn’t get to play spring ball. I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to like half of my teammates. The teammates there are the guys I went to the [JUCO] national championship with. Those are the guys I built a relationship with. So for them to do it again this semester, it really made me mad, though.”
There was a new teammate at Lackawanna from his old high school in Maryland that had joined the program. They were set to play together for the first time since JV football.
“Couldn’t ball out with my ‘Dawgs but the real bad thing is for some of those players it was going to be their last chance to get to the next level,” Warren said. “For that to be taken away from them, it hurt me. Because everybody has got a different route to the dreams they want in this life. JUCO is some of our last options. My biggest concern is what is going to happen to those guys now?”
“That’s the real tragedy here. Not me losing a chance to play football this fall.”
What does his Mom/OG advise him about his upcoming decision?
“She talks to schools but for the most part she tells me just to go to where I feel it is right,” Warren said. “I’m getting older. She feels confident in whatever decision I make. Either way, she is happy for me. I told her yesterday [on her birthday] that the next decision I make is going to impact the next two to 20 years of our lives.”
“She’s confident in me. She puts her trust in me. So I’m just going to make it happen for her.”
Check out Warren’s impressive first-year film of JUCO ball below. Bear in mind that he only played five games of varsity football in his high school career heading into the 2019 season. It still led to JUCO All-American recognition last fall.
“Once I get put back in the pads,” he said. “You just don’t understand the joy that I will have once I’m suited up. I’ve probably got the least experience out of most athletes. Some people have been playing since they were eight. I haven’t really gotten to do that.”
He played a full season last year at Lackawanna. The last full season he got to play before that was that JV season back in 2014. It was during his sophomore year of high school. He was not academically eligible in 2015 and 2016 and then only got five games of varsity football in 2017.
He sat out the 2018 season after his high school graduation due to finances preventing him from enrolling in junior college. Those experiences have led to a completely new approach and a reversal of his academic success in the classroom.
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