With a state championship in the balance, Katy, Texas running back Aundre Dean has more than enough on his mind. His team is undefeated and nationally ranked in several polls. This weekend, his squad faces another undefeated team in Fort Bend (Texas) Clements in the state semifinals. However, some Monday afternoon news added some new concerns to Dean's plate.
As the job security of Karl Dorrell has continued to hang in the balance, Dean's commitment to the Bruins has also been in a state of uncertainty. After Dorrell's firing on Monday, Dean addressed his UCLA recruitment.
"Really it's no surprise to me," Dean said of the firing. "It didn't catch me off guard or anything. I knew it would happen. He's a good coach and a good guy but I understand that you have to win and it's a business. I've got a couple of other schools I was looking at."
Dean has opened up his recruitment to openly visit and look at some other programs but the Bruins shouldn't pack it in just yet.
"I'm not ruling out UCLA because you never know who the coach might be," he said. "I could go up there and I could really like him and he could say that they're going to do one thing with me but I want to go ahead and take my four other officials. It's wide open right now. Nobody's got an edge over anybody."
At this point, Dean only has one official visit scheduled but he has a specific pool of schools that he'd like to choose from for his other trips.
"Louisville, Arizona State, Kansas State, LSU and Florida State," he said. "I know I'm going to Louisville January 11th. That's the only one I've got set up because I'v really gotten a chance to talk to him about it.
"The Arizona coach called me and the Arizona State coach called me. I've got to call him back here soon and see what the deal is with that."
Though his trips aren't yet scheduled, Dean wants his visits scheduled in a way that will allow him to make an informed decision.
"I'm for sure going to try to do them back to back," he said. "I want to do them all at the same time so that everything would be fresh on my mind. I'm going to do them back to back and then chill for a couple weeks and talk about my decision."
Dean will have plenty to sort out in the coming weeks but at this point, he is more than happy to keep his focus on an undefeated season and a Texas state championship.
"Really aint nothing changed since the first game of the season," he said. "We just gotta go out there and play ball and have fun. We just need to have good practices, good coaching, and just keep having fun. There's no scrubs left now. But if somebody beats us it's going to be ourselves."
With no more than two games remaining, Dean is enjoying every last snap of high school ball.
"It's starting to hit me deep," he said. "I'm just enjoying every minute with my family and my friends and just trying to cherish every moment. I was thinking about graduating early and enrolling for the spring but I didn't for that exact reason."
At the moment, Dean calls his commitment to UCLA a "soft verbal" but he will be have a busy winter to see if that commitment remains.