• John Macon Gillespie

What Makes Nakobe Dean Elite

The 2018 Mr. Elite Award (brought to you by SERVPRO)

was given to Horn Lake's Nakobe Dean last week. Dean is

the fifth member of the Mr. Elite fraternety.

With the 2018 high school football season in the books, attention turns now to postseason accolades, all-star games and signing day. One of these postseason accolades is awarded by SES Mississippi at the end of each season to the state's top football-playing senior: the Mr. Elite Award.

This year's award recipient was a nearly-unanimous selection among the staff, which is surprising on paper considering the depth of talent in this season's senior class, but not very surprising if you closely followed how the year unfolded.

It became very evident early-on that the preseason hype surrounding Horn Lake's Nakobe Dean was legitimate. Dean was an anchor on the esteemed Eagle defense (and sometimes offense) that lead Horn Lake to its first-ever football state championship. Dean led Horn Lake in total tackles (127), solo tackles (64) and was tied for the top spot in interceptions (three). Dean also found the end zone nine times on the ground in his senior campaign.

According to Dean, this Horn Lake state title is rewarding, but the team expected it from the beginning.

"I mean, it feels great," Dean said, "but it's something we have been preparing for all this time."

Although Dean is nearly-unanimously considered to be the best player in Mississippi this season, balancing recruiting, a senior season and grades can be overwhelming. For Dean, however, he has managed to keep his grades in good standing at Horn Lake High School and not be caught up in the fray of recruiting this season as he remains officially uncommitted heading into the early signing period next week. This focus on responsibilities off the field is also a deciding factor for the Mr. Elite Award.

What helped Dean stay grounded, he says, boils down to priorities.

"[I was] able to keep my priorities straight and do what was important first," Dean said.

Although Dean's career at Horn Lake has concluded, he still has one bout left in a high school uniform: the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game. Dean will take the field in Montgomery, Ala., on Monday at 6:30 p.m. with other representatives from Mississippi as they take on Alabama's best in the annual gridiron matchup.

With this year's award, Dean joins four other Mr. Elite winners in this exclusive group. The Mr. Elite fraternity now stands as follows:

2014 | Darrell Henderson | South Panola

2015 | Jack Abraham | Oxford

2016 | Cam Akers | Clinton

2017 | Tony Brown | East Central

2018 | Nakobe Dean | Horn Lake

#MrElite #NakobeDean #JohnMaconGillespie #HornLake

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