We've all had dreams and it sure appeared that former Rowlett, Texas High School punter and kicker Chadd Dearen was about to finally live out his as a Division I football player. Unfortunately, after spending the summer in Stillwater with Oklahoma State and anticipating a scholarship based on what he had shown, a corrected eligibility audit by the NCAA has Dearen on his way back to the Dallas-area and his previous NAIA college home at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
After high school, Dearen worked part-time at Bass Pro Shop and took some college courses. Then one summer night in 2012 he was hanging out with friends and talked about his "Glory Days." On a dare the group went to a high school field where using car headlamps for lights he proceeded to kick 45-, 50- and 55-yard field goals having barely practiced since 2009.
He knew then that he needed to act on his talent. There were several offers to walk-on at Division II schools and then SAGU showed interest.
He averaged 42.1 yards a punt as a freshman and was 11th nationally in the NAIA. Then the next season he took over all kicking responsibilities and earned the CSFL Special Teams Player of the Year honor two years in a row. In 2014, he averaged 39.2 yards per punt, went 10-of-16 in field goals with a long of 49 and he was 27-of-29 in PATs.
In 2015, Dearen continued to rack up impressive numbers, averaging 38 yards per punt with a long of 76, going 43-of-45 in PATs and 15-of-22 in field goals with a long 54.
Dearen routinely kicked at camps with Kohl Kicking and when OSU was seeking a transfer kicker/punter Dearen worked out as a senior graduate that was seeking a master's program in accounting and finance, which is offered at Oklahoma State and not at SAGU. One Oklahoma State staffer told me that Dearen was legitimately good and would have helped the Cowboys this season in some capacity.
That was certainly Dearen's plan and dream until earlier this week when the bad news hit.
"God has something bigger planned!" Dearen posted on his Twitter account, @CDtrey0. He further explained it with this attachment.
"These last two months in Stillwater have been amazing," Dearen wrote. "It was always a goal of mine to earn a D1 scholarship and I achieved that with OSU. I want to thank all of the coaches and players who believed in me and accepted me into the program. I have become a better football player on and off the field because of the opportunity that was presented to me with the Cowboys this summer. Yesterday afternoon (July 26) I was blindsided with the news that the NCAA made a mistake in their review of my eligibility at the D1 level, and so I am saddened to say that I will not be allowed to suit up for the Cowboys this fall. With that said, I will be returning to Southwestern (Assemblies of God) to play my senior season. I want to thank everyone who has supported me along this journey... It's not over yet!
Remember those part-time college hours while working part-time at Bass Pro Shop, that is where his NCAA college clock started. The NAIA rules are not as strict and will allow Dearen another season at Southwestern Assemblies of God.