The National Alliance of African American Athletes on Saturday night presented the 28th annual Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award trophy to Nakobe Dean of Horn Lake. Dean recently graduated from Horn Lake High School and is currently enrolled at the University of Georgia.
“Nakobe Dean is an amazing young man,” said J. Everette Pearsall, executive director of The Alliance. “We were very impressed with his contributions in the community, his excellence in the classroom and his success on the football field. As the standard bearer of the Watkins Class of 2019, we know that he will continue leading by example at the University of Georgia. Nakobe and the other members of this year’s Watkins Class are an incredible group and we look forward to following the next step of their careers.
At Horn Lake, Dean graduated with a 4.3 grade-point average and was a member of the National Honor Society. He volunteered as an elementary school mentor, with Toys for Tots, at a homeless shelter and with Community Cleanup. He was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and participated in 4-H Consumer Judging.
On the football field, he made 176 tackles and led Horn Lake to a 15-0 record and its first-ever Mississippi 6A title. Dean received the Butkus Award, presented to the nation’s top high school linebacker, was named the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and played in the Under Armour All-America Game.
“Ever since I was little, my parents told me that education will take me farther than my athletic ability and I’ve hung my hat on that,” Dean said.
“I want to thank the Watkins Award for having me here and allowing me to have this experience.”
The other members of the Watkins Class of 2019 are Jaylen Coleman of Charlotte, who signed with Duke University; Aeneas DiCosmo of Montclair,New Jersey, who signed with Stanford University; Elijah Higgins of Austin, Texas, who signed with Stanford University; and Roschon Johnson of Port Arthur, Texas, who has enrolled at the University of Texas.
The five student-athletes arrived in the Washington area earlier in the week and their trip included tours of Under Armour headquarters in Baltimore and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, as well as visits to the U.S. Capitol and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
The student-athletes also participated in the Watkins Teen Summit on Leadership and Achievement on Saturday morning.
This year’s Watkins Class members were selected based on their unweighted grade-point average, personal statement, extracurricular activities, community service and letters of recommendation.