Last day in the 40s. Cherish it.
We've got 40 days until kickoff, but that number was vacated with the departure of Tyrone Crawford and has yet to be officially re-assigned...today we'll highlight one of the remaining numberless souls—DJ Dean
#40, DJ Dean, Likely Grayshirt, WR
Weight: 180 lbs.
High School: Eagle High School, Eagle, ID
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Dean was a two-way standout for the state runner-up Eagle Mustangs, and his contributions to the squad were recognized with the 5A SIC Player of the Year award last season. Dean was all-state as a defensive back last year after making 77 tackles, 6 INTs and forcing 2 fumbles. He was a pretty darn good receiver as well—catching 56 passes for 801 yards and 5 TDs in 2011. Dean played quarterback at Eagle before Elite 11 QB Tanner Mangum transferred over...a move that might have ultimately landed him his Boise State scholly.
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Young James Woods
4 year varsity letterman on the gridiron. SIC player of the year in 2011, as well as Eagle High MVP and all-state defensive back. Academic all-conference selectee all 4 years of high school.
So far, I've avoided the likely grayshirts on the countdown because we'll have to wait a little longer to see them grace the field...but frankly, I'm running out of empty slots and Dean is an exciting prospect—even if his playing days are a a bit further down the road. How do we know that Dean will grayshirt? Well, because he pretty much said so. Local recruits are ideal candidates for the grayshirt, not because they aren't as talented as the other scholarship athletes or because their services aren't needed...it's because grayshirts are inevitable in most recruiting classes and it's much less of a burden on local guys whose delayed enrollment won't have them far from the program. Dean is almost assured to go this route, but when he joins the team in January, he will be an impact player whether he lines up at wide receiver (as expected) or in the secondary.
The Boise State WR corps is pretty stacked for the 2012 season, and is likely to stay that way next year—only graduating 3 seniors from the unit (Chris Potter, Mitch Burroughs and Tyler Jackson) this year. Still, Dean could forego a subsequent redshirt season in 2013 if he is any bit of the player we're told he is. He's a big-bodied and hard-nosed football player, whose physicality will be invaluable. As Dean put it in a January interview:
"I've got some size, feel that I can block well, and I'd say my biggest attribute is the ability to catch the ball coming across the middle."
That's not a bad attribute to have. "The middle" is a scary place for receivers, but Dean listing this no man's land as a comfort zone and his blocking prowess tells me that he's exactly the kind of role-playing WR that Boise State loves to have on the roster. I think he'll be more Kirby Moore than Titus Young...but these types of WRs make up for a lack of flash with consistency, toughness, reliability. Hopefully, Dean will get his shot in 2013, but whenever he makes it onto The Blue™, keep a close eye on him—he's going to do good things for the program.
Completely made up fact
Dean started going by "DJ" in first grade, when he had trouble constantly writing out his full, given name "Demarius Janikowski Dean"