God keeps blessing me and for that I'm thankful! I will be attending and playing football at Auburn University! I'm a tiger once again— OLO Dean (@jamel_dean15) May 8, 2015
That was the tweet that caught us all off guard last month when the initial report from Land Grant Holy Land, who were the first with news of Dean's tweet. I remembered Dean's story from Jerry Hinnen's report a while back on the situation, but did not expect Auburn to be a possible landing spot for Dean.
For those who may be unaware, Dean tore his ACL in November. Ohio State still allowed him to enroll early, but then the Buckeyes' medical staff did not clear him to play football this spring. OSU offered him a medical scholarship, but he instead decided to seek options elsewhere.
Jerry Hinnen's report linked above indicated that Dr James Andrews himself signed off on Dean's progress towards being able to play football again as soon as this summer. Dr Andrews is the authority I am sure Auburn would turn to for clearance, and if he states Dean is clear, then I'm sure Auburn is satisfied with that report.
How We Got Here
Dean was a composite 4* according to his 247Sports profile. He committed to Ohio State in December of 2013 and enrolled early in January. The timeline on his profile shows just why he ended up at Auburn. Aside from a visit by an FSU coach, the only other team listed is Florida. That would be the Florida coached by now Auburn Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp and Defensive Backs coach Travaris Robinson. Though according to 247Sports' Luke Stampini, Muschamp and T-Rob never really made a big play for him at UF.
In hindsight, that makes me feel bad that I wasn't tracking Auburn as a possible landing spot for Dean all along. However, I never gave a thought to looking into his recruiting history during the fallout of the clearance issues with Ohio State.
Dean applied for a waiver to play immediately, however it appears that the NCAA has denied this given what Dean told the newspaper Florida Today. Dean has said he's physically ready to go this year even after his injuries, but the redshirt year should be a big help for him on his road to complete recovery. I'm sure his knee will require a bit more rehab to get to 100% and the extra time will allow him to regain confidence in his knee without having it hamper him mentally on the playing field. He plans to arrive at Auburn late next month.
At 6'2, 200 lbs, he's an excellent size for a cornerback. He's similar in size to Jamarcus King, whom Auburn picked up a commitment from last Thursday. With a year to redshirt and rehab, he should be in good shape to provide more depth to the Tigers in a position that will be seriously hurting for that depth after this season.
A good bit of the video below shows him playing receiver. I do like that he appears to have good hands. He also appears to have good speed getting behind DBs. Hopefully that transfers into excellent cover skills and the ability to keep up with the speedy receivers of the SEC.
Fun With Recruiting Numbers
I entered Dean into 247Sports' "Class Calculator" and Auburn would jump Clemson for the #8 recruiting class for 2015 with the addition of Dean. The Tigers would fall just short of Ohio State (once I removed Dean) by mere percentage points for the #7 class in the nation.