National Alliance of African-American Athletes
Premiere African-American Male Scholar-Athlete 2019
Nakobe Rashod Dean, Horn Lake High School, Horn Lake, Miss.,
By LELAND STEIN III
Located in Athens, Georgia, the University of Georgia (UGA) is a flagship research institution that is one of the oldest public universities in the country, having been founded in 1785.
With Nakobe Rashod Dean, a 2019 Watkins Award Finalist, headed to Sanford Stadium to light up the 92,746-seat UGA gridiron, he will be following in the giant Bulldog footsteps of Watkins Scholar Athletes like Marcus Jackson in the Class 2002, Mohamed Massaquoi Class of 2005, in the 2007 Class there were Charles White and Trinton Sturdivant, Christopher Burnette 2009 Class, and Keith Marshall Class of 2012, all of whom also “Played Between the Hedges” at UGA.
“I chose Georgia first of all because I liked the academic environment,”, Dean told me at the Watkins Weekend Press conference held in Crystal City Virginia. “Next, the players, coaches and staff welcomed me and made me feel at home. Also, the football program is one of the best and competes at a high level in the SEC (Southeastern Conference).
“More importantly, Georgia has a very good Mechanical Engineering program and that is my long-term goal as a student is to degree myself in that field.”
As is the case with most of the young men that find themselves assimilated into the premiere African-American Scholar/Athlete Award in America, Dean is indeed worthy of inclusion as he earned a distinguished 4.3 GPA while at Horn Lake High School in Horn Lake Mississippi.
Without a doubt Dean challenged himself in the classroom as he taxed himself with Honors classes in English and Math earning all A’s. He also took Advance Placement (AP) courses in Studio Drawing Portfolio and Language Composition. He achieved all A’s in Physics, Algebra, Economics, U. S. Government, Latin and Human Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry and U.S History.
For his outstanding scholastic and athletic accomplishments, Dean finds himself welcomed into the noteworthy 2019 Franklin D. Watkins Award “Remarkable Five” class.
Wrote Laura LaPorte, Horn Lake High School teacher in her Watkins’ letter of recommendation: “He (Nakobe) was a pleasure to have in class, and his positive attitude and belief in himself is an immensely admirable asset. He always demonstrated tremendous effort in all his classwork, as well as, his presentations. During his four years of high school, he has achieved all A’s with the exception of one B received in his typing class. After receiving that B, he vowed he would never get a B again, and he indeed never did. His academic achievement has earned him numerous academic awards, including a membership in the National Honor Society.”
When a young man achieves at the superior level Dean has, one can be assured that there generally is a strong family foundation. In Dean’s case his mother (Neketta) and father (Byron) have made a lasting impact in his life direction and personal choices. Family, coaches, teachers and community leaders surely have been sponges that Nakobe has absorbed life lessons from; however, there is also something special inside of him that makes him drive himself to an exceptional level.
Wrote Nakobe in his Watkins application essay: “The phrase, ‘A
mother’s love is unwavering’ was no cliché’ in my home. A product of a single parent household with one older brother and one younger sister, my mom continuously overcame adversity. As far back as I can remember, my mother constantly dished out her rules while laying a foundation that we were required to follow. Although I knew and had a relationship with my father, his distance and absence in my immediate life created a void that my mama was determined to fill. ‘When given a task great or small do it well or don’t do it at all,’ a phrase echoed by my mom reminding us to put full effort into everything we taken on.’ ”
Echoed Hank South of 247Sports in his Watkins’ letter of
recommendation: “In my research of the Watkins Award, and the requirements it entails, Nakobe is a perfect fit as I see it. With a 4.3 GPA, academics have been at the forefront for him in his high school career. There is no question he sets himself apart from others on the football field, but, as distinguished of a player he is on Friday nights, he’s an even more distinguished person with high character and integrity. Despite staying on top of his school work, he has always made time for others. Whether its volunteering at homeless shelters, Toys for Tots or reading to elementary school kids, Nakobe has consistently put others before himself.”
As Mr. Horn mentioned in his letter of recommendation, Nakobe is a superior scholar athlete, but what made him standout even more to the national Franklin D. Watkins Award Selection Committee is his youthful commitment to community service.
He has volunteered in the Toys for Tots program, 4-H Club, helped in homeless shelters, nursing homes, was a part of the community clean-up and was guest reader for Elementary School & 5K Charity Run/Walks.
Wrote Scott Brown, Deputy Chief of the Horn Lake Police Department in his Watkins’ letter of recommendation: “I would consider Nakobe to be the most well-rounded high school student/athlete that I have had the privilege to get to know in my 20-years as a law enforcement officer. He not only takes care of his academics, athletics and utilizes his leadership ability to the betterment of our school and community; Nakobe truly has made the most of his opportunity and has done as amazing job mentoring and being a true ‘leader’ in the community.”
The final requisite for insertion as a Watkins Finalist is one’s athletic achievements. And Nakobe indeed has that wellspring covered. He was Mr. Football for 6A in Mississippi, Under Armor All-American, All- State, and, more importantly he won the Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s top high school linebacker.
The Watkins Family is honored to have Nakobe Rashod Dean as a costar in our remarkable congregation. He’s an exemplary match, combining athletics, community and academics at an illustrious level. He is not squandering any time contemplating about being a vanguard; he already
Leland Stein is a columnist writing for Los Angeles Sentinel, Voice News, Chicago Defender and theafricanamericanathlete.com; he can be reached at email@example.com and TWITTER @LelandSteinIII