Dion Gales commits (again) to Rebels

Dion Gales (DE, MS Gulf Coast CC) - Dion had the cat by its tail coming out of high school. Consider this, Dion was named the 2003 New Orleans Player of the Year after recording 65 tackles and 16 sacks for John F. Kennedy.

He received scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Miami, LSU, FSU, Florida, Colorado, West Virginia, Clemson, Illinois, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee before the start of his senior year.

Gales took official visits to Miami, LSU, Michigan State, and Ole Miss and signed with the Rebels in February of '04..

Dion was heading up to Oxford to report for freshman day until the bad news hit.

"Coach Woods (former Ole Miss coach) called me and told me that the NCAA said I was not qualified. I was like, are you sure. He said he was. I just told my aunt to turn around, and we headed back to (New) Orleans. I did not know what to do. I was pretty much in denial. I was in shock. Man, I was ready to make a name for myself in the SEC. You know, where the whole nation could see me play," added Dion Gales.

Dion Gales
Dion was close enough on his ACT score and Core GPA to go the route of sitting out a semester with hopes of qualifying. But, that did not work either.

"In the Fall (of '04), I decided to keep taking the (ACT) test. My plan was to get the (needed) score and enroll in December at Ole Miss. But, I never made it, so I went ahead and enrolled at Gulf Coast CC. I really did not want to lose any of my eligibility, but I was missing playing ball."

Dion enrolled for the first summer session and started working out with his new teammates. Classes were going great and his conditioning was really improving after sitting out of football for a season.

But then another curve was thrown into his plans.

"You know, the hurricane (Katrina) came through here (New Orleans) and just ripped us apart. All of my kins were out on the streets. It was bad. I was here (Gulf Coast CC) where it also tore everything up. I was like, man, what else can happen."

Dion's family was able to temporary relocate while they got everything pieced back together. Luckily for Dion's family, nobody was hurt.

"When everything came out, nobody was hurt. I said to myself, OK, what if my mother or aunt or anybody for that matter would have gotten killed? It made me look at life a lot differently. I said to myself that I was going to make something out of myself and do something for my folks."

The first few games of the 2005 football season was canceled due to Hurricane Katrina, but Dion made the best out of the shortened season.

"I had 44 tackles and 6 sacks. It was fun just being out there again."

What improvements did Dion see in his game from his high school days?

"Well, I can say my discipline in the game. My mind was much more focused."

Dion was 6' 5", 250, and ran an amazing 4.5 forty coming out of high school; has his size or speed changed?

"Not much, I am 6' 6", 275 right now. We were timed on Monday, and I ran a 4.8 (forty). My speed is not where it was in high school, but I am going to get that back down this year."

With a year of juco ball under his belt, what did Dion learn from having to sit out a year?

"Basically, it was hard because I was not able to do what I love, but I knew I had to do this to get to where I needed to be. It was just the first step in the process. My next step is getting to the SEC and then hopefully to the pros."

And where does Dion plan to play in the SEC?

"I am going to sign with Ole Miss again. It is just home up there. I can not wait to show their fans what I got. I know they have been waiting on me for a couple of years now, so I am going to try and make it worth it for them," stated a determined Dion Gales.

Who came in second place for Dion's services? "MSU was my second choice and Oklahoma State was my third. But this was really not a hard choice at all for me. I committed to Ole Miss out of high school, and it was the right decision for me this time around too."

While it is early in the recruiting process, many colleges have already started giving out scholarship offers. Did Dion receive any?

"Yea, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, USM, and Oklahoma State did. LSU said I had a spot. There were a lot of them, but it was mostly the same schools that recruited me out of high school."

Gales is on track to graduate in December. He will have 2 1/2 years to play 2.

To watch Dion's film, follow #98 below.

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