Nakobe Dean.jpg

Horn Lake linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) battles a Starkville lineman during the teams’ postseason playoff game this season. Dean Thursday added Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year to an already lengthy list of honors he has received on the heels of a state championship last Friday in Hattiesburg.

One day after being proclaimed the nation’s top high school football linebacker with the Butkus Award, Horn Lake senior Nakobe Dean has now been named the Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year.  

Gatorade Thursday announced its winners for each state and the District of Columbia.  Dean’s selection marks another honor for the Eagles’ senior, who has also been named Mr. Class 6A Football in Mississippi and is slated to play in the Under Armour All-America Game in January.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior linebacker made 175 tackles for the Eagles during their 15-0 run to the MHSAA 6A state championship last week in Hattiesburg.  Twenty-six of those were tackles for loss and he recorded seven sacks.

Dean also intercepted three passes, forced two fumbles, and as an offensive running back scored nine touchdowns.  

“Nakobe Dean is the best high school player I have seen in a very long time,” South Panola football coach Ricky Woods was quoted in the news release announcing the selection. “He is a complete football player.”  

Dean is the first Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year to come from Horn Lake. He now becomes eligible for the National Gatorade Football Player of the Year award, to be announced later this month.  

As part of his being selected state Player of the Year, Dean will now be able to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization as part of Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” program. He may also submit an essay to Gatorade to be considered for one of 12 $10,000 grants to an organization of choice.

This is the 34th year the sports drink manufacturer has had the awards program.  

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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