Georgia added a potential leader of its future defense Wednesday by receiving a commitment from coveted inside linebacker Nakobe Dean.
Per ESPN's Tom VanHaaren, Dean's pledge to the Bulldogs is another coup for head coach Kirby Smart:
Dean is a 5-star prospect and the No. 14 overall player in the 2019 recruiting class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also listed as the top inside linebacker and the best recruit from Mississippi. He was considering Ole Miss and Alabama, among other elite Power Five programs.
The Horn Lake High School standout is a punishing playmaker who's a constant presence at the point of attack, often blowing up plays in the backfield with his combination of power and small-area quickness. But he's not a one-dimensional asset, as he also possesses the speed to cover tight ends over the middle.
In February, he told Yancy Porter of 247Sports most interested schools expected him to stay on the inside as opposed to shifting to the edge in college.
"Anywhere I go I know I have to work hard to get to the level that I want to play," Dean said. "This is just the next step in my journey. I'm trying to get as good as I can get in college before I hopefully take my next step (NFL)."
Dean does have the explosiveness to play on the outside, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him at least get some snaps there early in his collegiate career given the immense value of pass-rushers. He's made his biggest impact in the middle, however, so that will likely be his long-term landing spot.
Inside linebacker is one of the toughest positions in college football to make an immediate splash because of all the added responsibility. So, while this is a massive pickup for head coach Kirby Smart and the Dawgs, it could take a while to reap the full rewards.
Dean should be a stalwart member of the Georgia defense by the time he's an upperclassman, though.