This spring, Mik'Quan Deane got into a habit of checking a list before practice at Northeast Oklahoma A&M that conveyed which college coaches would be attending that day.
When Deane saw that Arizona State coach Keith Patterson was going to be at the practice in small-town Miami, Oklahoma, he hatched a plan. A 6-foot-4, 240 pound tight end, Deane decided he'd try to catch Patterson's eye in an effort to reel in a scholarship offer.
"I saw Arizona State was going to be there," Deane said, "and was like, 'damn, that would be pretty nice, if I could somehow get their attention.' So I saw coach (Keith) Patterson come out and go to the defensive side (of the field) and figured he was probably looking for someone on defense. So I was trying my hardest to try to draw him to the offensive side to see how fast I am and how versatile I am. We went into one-on-ones and I ran a couple posts, a corner post, stuff like that. He saw me from downfield.
"After practice he didn't say anything, he kind of left early. Two days later one of my teammates told me, 'coach Patterson told me to give you his number.' I didn't believe it. I was like, 'for real?' I was tripping. I thought I didn't do good enough or something. So I called coach Patterson and he said he's a defensive coordinator but he is going to get [offensive coordinator Chip] Lindsey and coach (Todd) Graham to watch my highlight tape because he was really impressed.' From then on I started talking to the tight ends coach, coach Lindsey, coach Graham. After our spring game April 27 got a call from Patterson and he said they were offering me. I really ran down the hallway excited and everyone was like, 'what's going on? And I said, I got an offer from Arizona State.'"
On Tuesday, Deane tweeted that he'd set his first official visit to ASU. That trip is scheduled to take place June 8-10.
One of the reasons Deane became enthralled with the Sun Devils is that his former teammate at NEO Maurice Chandler transferred to ASU earlier this year and has spoken highly of the decision in recent months.
"Me and him are close," Deane said. "I'm definitely tighter with [Chandler] than a lot of guys from the team. I guess it's because we go up against each other in one-on-ones. He told me it's definitely a great place...He says the facilities and people are nice. That's all I'm looking for. As long as those things are nice, there's not really too much else I'm looking for."
Deane, who redshirted at NEO in 2014 out of Tulsa's Memorial High School, will play this year and then have two seasons of eligibility as a December graduate. He expects to be at the college he signs with in January, and the Sun Devils appear to be leading at this stage of the process.
"I feel like definitely Arizona State could be a great place for me because Maurice was telling me about all the funny dudes on the team and I'm a funny dude myself. I just want to connect with the coaches and teams. If I go there and feel like it's great, I'm definitely going to commit but I'd still want to take my visits so I don't have any regrets."
Colorado State, Louisville and Syracuse are other potential official visit destinations, Deane said, and he's also talking with Arkansas and Texas A&M, among others.
"I didn't really think I was going to have this many offers, I just thought I'd have a couple," he said. "So it's been great to see. I think I'm up to 11 now."
"I want to knock out all these visits and be committed before the season starts," Deane said. "I want to try to make a 4.0 [GPA ]this semester, go out with a bang and not be focused on recruiting, not have any worries."
As a player, Dean indicated he's very team-oriented and enjoys all aspects of playing the game including blocking and tackling as much as making a big catch down the field.
"I'm a guy who pretty much does whatever it takes to win," he said. "If it's raining and all I'm doing is blocking, I'm going to block my ass off. I'm going to try to pancake each guy I can each play. If there's a game you need me on deep routes, I want to be that guy too. I want to be a team player that is willing to do anything. I like to play special teams for that reason. If you put me on special teams I'm going to compete my ass off on special teams. I'm going to do that every play. I don't want to have any regrets. You never know when it's over. I'm going to try to go out with a bang every time I step on the field."