EA’s Jon Dean now a Panther

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A huge weight has been lifted off the shoulder pads of Escambia Academy senior Jon Dean since he has signed his Letter of Intent to play football for the Birmingham Southern Panthers next fall.

“A lot of stress is off me now,” said the soon-to-be high school graduate. “I’m happy and looking forward to graduation now. About a month ago, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do, so it feels good.”

For Dean deciding on where to attend college was tough until he was able to visit the campus of Birmingham Southern College.

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Dean said he liked the things he saw when he took his visit to Birmingham.

“I really liked the campus,” Dean said. “I have family in Birmingham, so it will be nice to be close to them. The football program at Birmingham Southern is fairly new too, and they have some nice facilities there. I just like the way they run the program. My parents and I also like the reputation they have academically being compared to schools like Vanderbilt.”

Along with the campus and football facilities, the recruitment process that the Panthers coaching staff used appealed to Dean.

Dean said he received handwritten letters from one of the coaches expressing their interest in him.

“Coach (Heath) Gibson took a film of me up to a show day at Lee-Scott Academy, and we got a card from Birmingham Southern coach,” Dean said. “They liked what they saw and one of the coaches began writing me handwritten letters saying they wanted me to visit. On my visit, I liked what I heard from the coach, and it was just everything I was looking for in a school.”

Once he hits the field in the fall, Dean is not sure where he will be playing for the Panthers.

Dean said he has expressed interest to his coaches in playing on either side of the ball.

“They asked where I wanted to play, and I told them slot or safety,” Dean said. “They told me to try out for both and they would decide what my best fit would be.”

Dean reports to Birmingham Southern for fall practice on Aug. 13 with a max-out day scheduled for Aug. 15.

Until that point, Dean is allowed to workout, but with certain conditions.

Dean said he has to report whatever he does in his workouts.

“I can workout at home, but I have to report my lifts and percentages to them whenever I do workout,” Dean said.

With all of this stress behind Dean, he can now turn his attention to his Thursday graduation, where he will receive his diploma and walk across Bachelor Field for the final time.

Escambia Academy senior Jon Dean signs his Letter of Intent to play for the Birmingham Southern Panthers next fall in Birmingham. | Photo by Chandler Myers