First, Dean wanted to emphasize that he considers himself still firmly committed to UCLA.
"I'm still solid to the Bruins," said Dean, the 6-1, 200-pounder. "When I went out there (for an unofficial visit), that was the place for me. I committed there for a reason, and I can't wait to get there and hopefully have a chance to help them out. I knew it was a place I would really fit in. I'm a city guy and everything just fell into place so I'm definitely still feeling UCLA."
When Dean was asked, however, what he would do if UCLA were to fire its head coach, Karl Dorrell, Dean responded, "If Coach Dorrell was fired and all the coaches were let go, then I would probably go somewhere else. But it all depends. If some of the coaches stayed, that would change everything."
Dean, who is having a big season for his high school team, which is ranked #5 in the country and is the top-ranked team in the state of Texas, said he is considering taking official visits to other schools just in case. He said, "That's part of the reason I'm taking trips to LSU and Kansas State, to have options in case things change with UCLA. I don't want to close all of my options so I may take official visits. But I'm not thinking like that. I'm thinking that I'm going to UCLA unless something changes. UCLA is the place I felt the best."
He did say that even though UCLA is struggling, they've impressed him when he's spoken with them this season. "I'm solid (to UCLA) for one thing," said Dean. "They've had a lot of ups and downs, and they've really faced a lot of injuries. But when I talk to the coaches, they never use the injury excuse, even though you've got to look at them and say injuries are hurting them."
Dean said he stays in regular contact with the UCLA coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, who has been a big part of his recruitment.
"They can call once a week and they make sure every week to call. They're cool and genuine guys. They don't make any excuses. When ever they come on TV, I watch it or record it. It's evident they're having a banged-up year though," said Dean.
Dean is a power back who aspires to be an every down ball-carrier, something UCLA hasn't brought in since DeShaun Foster.
"That's what they're telling me, they want me to be an every down back. They want me to do some downhill running," said Dean. "I knew from the start, after watching some video, that I would fit in perfect in that system. But to be honest, as we get closer to the playoffs, I'm not even thinking about college."
That's because the Tigers have a shot at the state championship and even a chance to be mythical national champions.
Dean said: "I honestly didn't expect this year to be going like it is, but this year's been great. We had a lot of surprises, like a new offensive coordinator, and he's opening up the passing game a lot. We're a real balanced team and our defense is phenomenal. We knew we could play this week but we didn't expect to get the national attention. But we've earned it."
Dean and his Tiger teammates are also working towards something no class at Katy has done.
"We're working on being the first undefeated season here," said Dean. "We've got the league title, were in the top 10 (nationally) and number one in the state. It's been real, real fun."
Dean, too, has been instrumental for Katy.
"I had a 99-yard touchdown run," said Dean. "It opened up in front, I had to run through a couple of guys, and after that, it was just green grass in front of me. It was for sure the longest run I've ever had. It was supposed to be a handoff, but our quarterback was falling down and they were trying to get a safety, so he just pitched it to me and I took off. The play went quicker than I expected. No one was around, and they didn't even bother to chase me. I looked back and no one was nearby."
Dean wasn't done with the first big run, also adding a 60-yard run for a score to keep Katy perfect in 2007 at 9-0, with one regular season game remaining.
"I don't really try to get the big play every time I carry it, I just run," said Dean. "My coaches say ‘four yards is a good play' so I run and try to get the four yards every carry. I don't really think I have to always break a long run. Everything falls into place when we do our job."
Another Texas native, Adrian Peterson, had a big day on Sunday, and Dean said he watched in awe as Peterson had a record-setting day. "I watched him and he had a great game. A lot of people compare me to him, except he's bigger, stronger and faster," joked Dean. "He's a guy I look up to and while I don't try to pattern my game after anyone in particular, he's a guy I like to watch."
Dean said he's looking forward to his official visit to UCLA, but said it may have to wait until after his season is done.
"We still have a lot of goals, so I don't want to put too much on my plate," said Dean. "If I can visit (during the season), then great, if not I'll wait until after the season. Committing has been a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. It's nice because I knew where I was going, I could relax and play my game, and as we get closer to the playoffs, I know what I'm doing. I know we have a chance to be good at UCLA and I'm sitting on a commitment to a place I love."
Being one of the two out-of-state commits to UCLA (along with K/P Jeff Locke) has kept Dean from really getting to know the other commits to UCLA, but he has talked with them.
"A while back, they were having get-togethers and they know each other, so it's a little weird because I don't know any of them, and I'll go in as the new guy," said Dean. "But at one of the get-togethers (a BBQ at Anthony Dye's house) they were all over there, and they all called me. There was like ten of them. It was cool and then to know they're excited about me coming. I'm excited to meet them. That's why I want to take my official when they all do so I can get to know them more."
Dean will have a chance to spend some time with a few of his future teammates at the ESPN All-American Game in January in Orlando. Dean will join Locke, Dye, quarterback Nick Crissman and safety E.J. Woods as Bruin commits in that game.
"That will be great, to network and meet a bunch of great players. I still have a lot of football to play. We have one more game, against Mayde Creek, then we start the "real season". You win five of them and then the sixth game is the state championship. It's at the Alamodome. I can't wait to get the playoffs started."
Dean has played in eight of the Tigers' nine games, sitting out one with a minor injury, but has rushed for 1,292 yards and 12 touchdowns.