UGA football roster: Nakobe Dean already a star after just one year

Most elite prospects UGA football signed had solid seasons in 2019, but inside linebacker Nakobe Dean ended the year as one of Georgia’s best defenders.

Being a co-winner of UGA football’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award shouldn’t be taken lightly. Georgia’s 2019 recruiting class was stacked with elite defensive players, and Horn Lake, Miss. native Nakobe Dean was one of the best last season.

Dean wasn’t just one of the best defensive players among freshmen, he was one of the best defensive players on the entire team, and by extension, in the nation. Dean ended his debut year with 25 tackles with 1.5 of them ending with a loss of yardage. He added two pass breakups and a forced fumble to his totals.

His 2019 highlights include a six-tackle performance in the shutout win over Kentucky which included Dean forcing a fumble on a kickoff. Dean had a pair of tackles and a quarterback pressure against Florida, and three tackles with a pass breakup against Georgia Tech. A pass breakup late in the first half against LSU helped keep Georgia in the game going into halftime.

Sometimes the recruiting sites are 100-percent correct, as was the case with Dean. At 6-0 and 220 lbs. coming out of high school, Dean was already at SEC-ready size. The recruiting sites considered him one of the most athletic, toughest and instinctive linebackers in the nation with an ability to play sideline-to-sideline.

All of those traits were on full display in 2019. Dean also enrolled early and that showed itself as well. He learned Georgia’s defensive scheme quickly and looked like a veteran in it by seasons’ end. Dean reads and dissects offenses very well. He doesn’t waste steps and breaks to the ball in an instant. Once he arrives at the ball, he delivers hard and solid contact.

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Dean isn’t going to leave the field much in 2020. Barring an injury, he is going to start in Georgia’s season opener. There’s no limit to his potential. Dean is an All-American caliber player who’ll likely enter 2021 on the watchlist for numerous defensive awards and is quite possibly a future NFL first-round draft pick.

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