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Horn Lake's Nakobe Dean to remain an Eagle after NFL Draft

Nakobe Dean Horn Lake Eagles Philadelphia Eagles

Horn Lake's Nakobe Dean to remain an Eagle after NFL Draft


Horn Lake mayor Allen Latimer has named May 9 Nakobe Dean Day. Dean led Horn Lake High School to a 6A championship and was drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft, where he learned he would remain an eagle.

A special event was held at Horn Lake City Hall to honor Dean on Monday, where his friends, family and high school coaches spoke highly of his abilities and character. Latimer said others could learn from Dean's approach to success.

"This young man was blessed at birth with many talents," Latimer said. "But with the encouragement of so many others, he worked and worked to polish those skills to achieve what he has. It's hard to be someone who doesn't give up but those words apply to Nakobe Dean."

Despite projections of his name being called in the first round, the Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the third. The drop was reportedly due to injury concerns and his relatively small stature for a linebacker.

But where and when he was selected was not a concern for Dean. He said he knew that a team was going to draft him and his goals go far beyond the draft.

"I knew I was going to get drafted. It was great even with the emotional woes to it," Dean said. "It was knowing that a part of my goal was getting accomplished. But it's not my end goal to get drafted in the NFL. I want to be great in the NFL."

Before draft day, Dean helped the Georgia Bulldogs win their first national championship since 1980 last season. He finished second on the team with 72 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions.

Dean won the Butkus Award as the top high school linebacker while he was at Horn Lake, then won the award again at the collegiate level. He is one of only three players to win both awards.

"For me it's about staying healthy, getting connected and being part of the team," Dean said. "My first year at Georgia I didn't try to learn everybody's name. I want to be able to that my first year here. You have to build that brother feeling, but I do think we'll get to that point."

Dean said he was a Steelers fan as a child and admired the games of Troy Polamalu and James Harrison. He said his favorite part of winning a national championship at Georgia was seeing the impact it had on the fans, school and community.

Former Horn Lake High School football coach Brad Boyette spoke about his time coaching Dean. He praised Dean's leadership and encouraged him to continue being a great leader at the NFL level.

"I could sit here and tell you stories about coaching Nakobe all night," Boyette said. "Good teams are led by good coaches, but great teams are led by great players. When we turned the corner at Horn Lake, it was because we loaded the wagon and gave the reigns to players like Nakobe."

Dean, named a 5-star prospect in high school, was chosen as the 2018-19 Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year in Mississippi. He said he had always wanted to play professional sports, as he had grown up playing basketball, baseball and football.

Dean closed the event by thanking those in attendance and the city of Horn Lake as a whole.

"It means the world to me that Horn Lake has always had my back. It means everything to have this type of support," Dean said. "I'm proud of where I'm from, it's a very proud moment. I want thank everyone of the citizens, my mother and my whole family."