NORMAN — It’s not like Jakcob Dean has achieved folk hero status. Still, I can’t remember where I was when I saw him for the first time.
Was it in Bixby, his sophomore season, at that mega-scrimmage Norman High attends every year? Did the Tigers even go to Bixby that season? Maybe it was the Top of the World Classic the same preseason.
A bit of a mystery.
What I remember is what I thought the first time I saw him play.
Something like, “Well, yeah, the Tigers have a receiver this season. Did you see that catch?” And then, “Wait, he plays quarterback, too?”
Something about it was particularly impressive. Probably that he was making plays at both positions while carrying himself in a way that boldly seemed to ask “Why wouldn’t I be making plays at both positions?”
It can sell you a car, offer deliverance and earn your vote.
You hope it’s in good hands.
NHS football coach Greg Nation remembers the first time he saw the young man who would become one of his best receivers, later become his quarterback and, Wednesday, National Signing Day, make his commitment official to play football alongside his brother Blake at Division II Arkansas Tech of the Great American Conference.
“I think the first thing I noticed about him was just his leadership and his work ethic,” Nation said. “Along with that comes a following. It’s kind of magnetic. Our kids, they migrate to him and just follow him where he goes.”
Nation remembers being impressed the first time he said hello to Dean, then an eighth grader at Alcott Middle School.
“He came up and shook my hand,” he said. “A lot of kids don’t do that.”
Also, Nation knows, in Dean’s hands, all that charisma is a very good thing.