But a trip out to Los Angeles during his spring break threw a major wrench into those plans.
"I went over to UCLA during my spring break and just loved it," said Dean. "At one point, I had no intention of going out of state to play, but UCLA is definitely a place for me and the top school. That's the top place for me and it made me decommit."
Dean raved about his time with the Bruin coaches and said his trip was informative.
"We had a real good connection and they said I had a real good chance to play as a freshman," said Dean. "They explained the depth chart. They've got two senior running backs, and I would have a great chance of coming in and playing. They have three guys ahead but I would have to beat them out."
Dean's first contact with UCLA came when defensive backs coach Gary DeLoach first saw him as a junior and picked up some video and made it clear to the Katy coaching staff that UCLA would be recruiting Dean. DeLoach laid the initial groundwork for the Bruin staff and then when Jay Norvell came to UCLA from Nebraska, he used his recruiting connections to the Katy staff to give UCLA another assist.
"Coach DeLoach said they would be looking at me after seeing some of my video," said Dean. "When Coach Norvell moved from Nebraska, they watched my video and they really started to recruit me hard."
Dean also spent time talking with head coach Karl Dorrell.
"Coach Dorrell is pretty funny and a great guy," said Dean. "He seems laid back. I talked to him about 30 minutes and I felt like I really knew him. He's a real spiritual guy, and fun to be around. I feel like he can relate to his players. He told me they've been recruiting scat-backs and want a power runner and that made me feel important, like I can be the answer. I like the challenge."
The weather in Los Angeles also didn't disappoint.
"It was beautiful, you cant beat the weather, I'm not going to lie," said Dean. "It wasn't humid. Really, the coaching staff was straightforward made me feel comfortable. They don't beat around the bush. It's funny because at one point, my parents didn't want me to go out of state, but to go out there, and to have my parents see it, I knew that my parents really liked it. It was a beautiful campus with a lot of great coaches."
UCLA all-American and Houston native Bruce Davis is a person whom Dean is very familiar with and there is a connection.
" I've heard about Bruce because my parents and his parents know each other, so that was kind of sweet," said Dean. "I didn't have a chance to talk with him when I was there but I know he loves it there and it's a great school where his parents get to come down and watch him play."
Despite the verbal to Texas A&M, Dean had always hoped that UCLA would get involved.
"Back when I was sophomore, I had four schools I liked, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC," said Dean. "And I have the opportunity to go to two of the four. It's definitely going to be UCLA or Texas A&M for me. I'm leaning towards UCLA right now. My dad and I talked and he asked If UCLA or A&M was down the street, where would you go. I can't let those conditions be a factor. I've got to go with my heart and I felt it over at UCLA."
Dean said his timetable for his decision could come in the next month.
"I plan on committing for good and getting it out of the way, possibly the next month. I'm not going to commit, though, unless I feel it for sure. But I want to get it out of the way focus on winning a state championship."
Dean said he would be visiting College Station again for Texas A&M's Maroon and White Game.
He described his running style.
"I'm a slasher but more so a power back who can break outside and do it all," said Dean. "I try not to be one dimensional, I just want to be as versatile as possible. I know I can always get stronger and I'm starting to excel every year and learn a different part of game."
Dean said that he was 201 now but that by the time his senior year starts, he wants to be up to 215.
"But I don't want to get too big where I lose my speed," said Dean.
Dean had an impressive junior season rushing for 2,111 yards with 27 touchdowns. He earned first team All-District, All-State honorable mention and first team All-Greater Houston honors.