Senior offensive tackle Nathan Dean from Juanita HS had offers from half of the Pac-12, but chose to stay at home to play for the Washington Huskies and Steve Sarkisian. The Seattle Times preseason all-state football team selection verbally committed to UW in June.
How is your season going so far?
It's been great. It's different to be put in the leadership role as a senior. I feel like my offseason leading up to this season was the best I've ever had. It is paying off in the games so far.
What sorts of things made this off-season different from years past?
Basketball used to be my number one sport; last spring I would have been playing on an AAU basketball team but I decided not to so I could focus on football. This really helped me because now I could just live in the weight room. In addition, a little of the recruiting stress went down once I was offered in February so I didn't have to worry about trying to get noticed, I could just focus on being the best I could be.
Why did you choose to switch from basketball to football?
A few reasons. I realized that if I wanted to play college for a sport I would have to choose which one and completely focus on that sport. I didn't have the best junior year in basketball so I just wanted to clear my mind and focus on football. I've chosen not to play basketball my senior year.
What's it been like being a leader on this team as a senior?
It's been great. I've had some great leaders during my sophomore and junior years so it's cool to finally have that feeling. Also, we are a pretty young team. There are only about four returning starters on both sides of the ball so I feel I've had to do my best to lead by example. I'm not huge on verbal leadership.
Tell me a little about your style of play at Offensive Tackle. What are your main strengths?
Well I feel like with our offense I'm pretty mobile. We run the fly sweep so it's a lot of sweep runs and I'm blocking defensive ends but having to run to get the linebackers and defensive backs. I always felt like my quickness was a strength; during the offseason my main goal was to add overall strength. Now I feel like I've gotten better at the inside runs we have as well as the outside runs. If you had to define me, I would say I'm more of a moving lineman.
Is your quickness a skill that college coaches keyed in on during your recruitment?
I feel like they did. I always heard that it looks like I could put on some weight and still be able to move.
You had offers from half of the Pac-12, why did you end up choosing UW?
I grew up going to UW games so I've always wanted to play there. When I explored the other schools in the Pac-12 I always thought about how much it would hurt if for some reason I didn't choose them [UW]. It would have been fun to maybe choose UCLA or Arizona, but in the long run my sister goes to UW, my family lives twenty minutes away and they have a great staff and the program is always getting better.
Are there any stand-out UW games you remember vividly growing up?
No games in particular. I remember watching Isaiah Stanback at quarterback with Louis Rankin in the backfield. I remember when UW beat USC at home a few years ago; I was there and loved it. I just love the UW gameday atmosphere. I love the boats on the water and the band and listening to KJR on the radio after the game.
Do you get goosebumps now when you go to watch games at UW or see the team play? Must be a weird feeling knowing you're going to play there.
Yeah, it's really weird. It's hard to go from being a fan of the team to knowing that I will be on the team. Plus I know a few of the guys on the team now so it's weird to think about that too.
That's about all I got for you. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
I always gotta give love to the coaches at Juanita, especially Lele Te'o and A.J Parnell. I know I would not have an offer from UW if they weren't in my life.