Football at the collegiate level wasn’t always a certainty for Auburn’s Jamel Dean.
Ohio State medically disqualified the 6-foot-2, 205-pound cornerback after he enrolled in January 2015. Dean tore his ACL in December 2013 and then tore his meniscus in his final high school game in 2014. The rocky breakup hasn’t left Dean with open wounds toward his former coaches.
“I don’t hold any grudges,” Dean said, according to AL.com’s James Crepea. “At first I thought my football career was over with. Then once I got the second opinion from Dr. Andrews, I just took the opportunity to play football again.”
Controversy followed Dean’s release, as Ohio State was criticized for how they handled the situation. According to Florida Today’s David Jones, Ohio State coaches told Dean that he should play “somewhere else” and that they “really didn’t care” if he stayed with the program.
Dean ultimately decided to go “elsewhere,” when he sought a second opinion from famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Andrews’ assessment of Dean and his surgically repaired knee weren’t enough to sway Ohio State to medically clear him, though.
Dean is finally getting the opportunity he wanted, taking advantage of the chance for a clean slate.
After having to sit out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules, the redshirt-freshman is competing for a starting cornerback job and has been taking reps with the first-team defense during spring practice.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this, almost a year, ever since I transferred over,” Dean said, according to AL.com. “It felt like I didn’t get the experience to play football until now.”