CRESTVIEW — It has been more than a year since Crestview shortstop Dakota Dean committed to play college baseball at Louisiana State University. Dean made the commitment official Friday when he signed his national letter of intent to play for the Tigers, a powerhouse in the Southeastern Conference.
Dean follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Blake, a 2006 Crestview graduate, who earned All-America honors in 2008 and was a part of LSU’s national championship team in 2009.
Dean said the familiarity he had with the Tiger program went a long way in helping him make his decision.
“It feels good to go ahead and get it over with and to finally get it done,” he said. “I’ve been there a lot while I was growing up and I got to see how they work. And I’ve seen their fans and everything.”
Dean said he is used to the comparisons between and his brother and he isn’t worried about those comparisons continuing as he moves on to college.
“I’ve been compared to Blake since I was little,” he said, “but he’s Blake and I’m Dakota so at the end of the day it doesn’t bother me.”
Bulldog baseball coach Tim Gillis coached both Dean brothers and said Dakota, who like Blake swings the bat left-handed, compares very favorably to his older brother.
“You can watch them in the (batters) box and see their stance and really see similarities,” Gillis said. “Blake may have more natural power, but Dakota runs better. They are two exceptional hitters.”
Comparisons aside, Gillis said Dakota, who has started since his freshman year, has taken nothing for granted as he has worked toward his goal of playing college baseball.
“He’s been a tireless worker ever since he has been here,” Gillis said. “He’s a no nonsense kind of guy. He doesn’t mess around when he gets to practice.
“He’s a very intense worker and he’s very intense in a game. I tell you, I think the sky is the limit for him at the next level and we are excited to have him for another year.”
Dean said he has been told he will play the middle infield for the Tigers, but he’s not concerned about what position he’ll play when he gets to LSU.
“I can play any position,” he said. I can go out and play middle infield, the outfield, where ever you need me,” he said. “I can run pretty good and I can swing the bat really good.”
Dean, who also was a three-year starter on the Bulldog football team, hasn’t completely ruled out trying to play college football.
“I’m just going to see if I get any offers for football this year,” he said. “But if not, oh well, I’m going to LSU.”
Even if he’s drafted in June’s Major League Baseball draft Dean said he will still likely end up at Louisiana State saying it would take life-changing money for him to forgo his college career.
Dean will report to LSU in June. In the mean time he has his senior baseball season to look forward to with his college decision out of the way.
“It’s going to be a lot easier for me to focus on baseball,” he said. “We definitely are going to compete for the district championship.”
As far as Gillis is concerned whatever the challenge facing Dean either on the high school diamond or at LSU, he’ll be ready for the challenge
“It’s (developing as a baseball player) a constant process,” Gillis said. “But his work ethic is so good that he is going to be up for the task.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524