Jhavonte Dean's latest 'crack at playing football'
Jhavonte Dean’s football journey hasn’t been an easy one. He didn’t follow the traditional route.
But, despite the roadblocks, the cornerback continues to work. His goal: Do whatever it takes to pursue his dream.
“That’s right,” Dean said, when asked about his desire to keep moving forward. “You said that right.”
The Homestead, Fla. native, who was drafted by the Seattle Dragons during the XFL Draft last month, has been willing to travel anywhere football leads him since he graduated from South Dade High School. He started his college career at Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas where he became one of the top JUCO recruits in the country. He eventually chose the University of Miami over Alabama.
“I understand the ups and downs,” Dean said. “That’s just how my career has been so far.”
As a senior with the Hurricanes, he finished tied for the team lead in interceptions (three).
“Our defense was one of the best defenses I’ve ever played with,” Dean said. “The guys there just believed in each other. It was a brotherhood. We held each other to a high standard every day. That’s what made us become a great defense.”
Dean played in all 13 of Miami’s games as a senior but went undrafted.
He received an NFL opportunity with Cleveland during its rookie minicamp and impressed the Browns enough to earn a contract but was released in August. He was then briefly claimed by Pittsburgh before eventually landing on the practice squad with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL.
“I’ve just been trying to find a spot on a roster,” Dean said.
Dean’s latest opportunity comes in Seattle, adding another stop to his football odyssey.
“I’m just ready to get to work, just go have fun, play ball,” he said.
Listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Dean brings a skill set that assistant defensive backs coach Marcus Ungaro believes is a good fit for the Dragons’ defense.
“He’s got height, weight, speed, a guy I see developing into a lockdown corner,” Ungaro said after the draft. “He’s got the skills to be a great corner in this league.”
For Dean, the XFL provides another chance to showcase his skills, another opportunity to play football.
“With the journey I’ve been through, I have the mentality to not ever give up when things aren’t going your way,” Dean said. “That’s the way to take it. When things aren’t going how you expect them to go, just understand that you have to trust the process. That’s what I’m doing and now I have another opportunity to go play football in Seattle.”
When Dean arrives for minicamp, it will be his first trip to Seattle. But he’s no stranger to new places. The city doesn’t matter. He just wants to play.
“For one, it presents me with another chance to get a crack at playing football,” Dean said. “It gives me an opportunity to go out there and show them what I can do, be a great teammate, get a chance to win a championship there.”