Coach Speak: Jamel Dean

BuckeyeSports.com's Coach Speak series featuring Ohio State commitments from the class of 2015 continues with John Wilkinson, the coach of Cocoa, Fla., three-star defensive back Jamel Dean

John Wilkinson, the head coach at Cocoa, Fla., spoke with BuckeyeSports.com about Ohio State commit and three-star defensive back Jamel Dean.

What are some of his biggest assets?
He has speed. He brings a quiet confidence about himself. He’s strong. He’s a good kid and good competitor who likes to win and is a hard worker.

How did he handle his ACL injury last fall?
When it first happened he was very disappointed because it knocked him out of playing in the playoffs for us and we really needed him. Once the season ended and he started to rehab, you could see that he had this look in his eye that he was going to come back and be better than he was and stronger than he was. He’s worked at it, and that was evidenced by him being able to run in the state track meet about five months after his surgery, and our team got second with him on it in the 4x100. We held him out of spring and let him keep rehabbing all summer, and he’s back good as new so far this season.

Was there a moment during his recovery that either made you say, ‘He’s back’ or showed you he was fine?
Just seeing him run the 100. The doctor or the rehab guy told him to go 80 percent, and he ran a 10.8 at 80 percent five months after surgery. Most people can’t do that after not having surgery at all. It looked like he was jogging and he ran 10.8. Right then I knew he was going to be back good as new.

On the football field, we kind of spoon fed him the whole way because we know what he can do and it gave other kids a chance to play and get some reps. The first pass we threw him was probably a 70-yard touchdown. He just ran by everybody and caught it, so I knew he was back.

Over the course of his high school career, what are some areas where you’ve seen him make some improvement?
Well, he’s a captain this year and I think he’s made some strides in his leadership. He’s a quiet kid and doesn’t really say too much, but he leads by example. He realizes this year that he has to step up and become more vocal with his leadership style, because kids are going to follow him because of who he is and what he does. I think his leadership has definitely stepped up.

Does he carry that quiet personality onto the field?
He’s not a big talker. He’s not going to say anything. He just goes out there and plays and does whatever is asked of him. He returns punts for us, returns kicks and whatever we ask him to do is what he does. He doesn’t speak to the other team. That’s just the way he is. Quiet kid.

With him being an Ohio State commit, have you seen opponents attack him differently?
To be honest with you, the teams we play around here don’t have the speed that he has, so it’s kind of tough to tell. But when we played at Louisville (Ky.) Trinity, he busted a coverage and they scored a touchdown and he took full responsibility for it. They went at him and he messed up, but he’s the type of kid that accepts responsibility for making a bad read. I haven’t seen anyone really go at him or go away from him, though, because we don’t play teams that throw it a whole bunch. In the past, they’ve tended to go away from him.

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