UCLA picked up a commitment recently from Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete offensive lineman Jake Dean. Dean, 6-3, 260 pounds wasn't as highly regarded as some other linemen being talked about but after watching his tape today, we feel Dean is definitely one of the top players in the state for the class of 2006.
A couple of things jump out at you right away while watching Dean. One is how incredibly quick he is and what a great job he does getting in to the secondary and making a secondary block on a linebacker or defensive back. Several times on the film, Dean will pull from his tackle position, take out an opposing lineman and then finish the play by pancaking a linebacker or a safety.
Dean has great feet and has to be one of the most athletic linemen we've seen in the West this year. At the recent Nike combine in Long Beach, Dean clocked a 5.12 in the 40, a great time for a lineman but he actually plays even faster. You rarely see linemen doing much outside the box, that seven to ten yard area around the line of scrimmage most linemen live in. Dean however is so athletic, he's making blocks 25 and 30 yards down the field.
Dean also plays with a nasty streak you love to see in a HS lineman. It has always been our belief that a legitimate Div I lineman who typically outweighs the majority of the players he's going against by 25-30 pounds shouldn't just block or shield his man but should be dominating his man as much as possible. That's what Dean does. The lineman finishes his blocks very well and even after the whistle is blown, and everyone else around him has stopped, you can still see Dean taking his man well out of the play or putting him on his back.
Dean plays tackle for Paraclete but will play center for the Bruins. His size, feet and smarts should allow him to make that transition very easily. In comparing the athlete to players at his position from a year ago, in the class of 2005, our top center in the west was Vista's (Calif.) Thomas Altieri who we liked a lot but at this point, we would rate Dean ahead of Altieri, mainly because of his edge in overall athleticism.