Last fall preseason Labette County head coach Sean Price told us that he had a quarterback that he thought had a chance to be very good. He also said by the first few weeks everyone would know his name. Well he was right. That quarterback is Easton Dean. The Labette County High School senior isn’t your average high school quarterback.
He stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 225-pounds. And he’s not just a tall kid that happens to play football, he’s an elite level dual-threat quarterback in the state of Kansas that has committed to play at Iowa State, he also holds an offer from Iowa and a couple of FCS schools.
Dean passed for over 2,000 yards last fall as a junior in his first year as the starter for the Grizzlies. He completed 69 percent of his passes a year ago with 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He is a fluid runner and could be a guy this year that you see with 1,000 rushing yards with a big season for the Grizzlies. Dean was a second team all-state all-class non-senior pick from Sports in Kansas last fall, in addition to making first team All-Area and All-SEK. He will be one of the top returning quarterbacks in the entire state of Kansas, regardless of classification. Dean is also an all-league caliber basketball player for the Grizzlies and averaged in double figures.
“I feel like I am a force as a player because of my ability to run as well as throw. It makes me a more dangerous threat.” Dean said.
His size and playmaking ability in 2017 ultimately led to him becoming a prospect this off-season where several FBS programs stopped in Altamont to check out Dean. Dean ultimately committed to the Cyclones on Feburary 10th after being offered in December of 2017. Iowa State was his first FBS offer.
“I love the atmosphere at Iowa State. The atmosphere in college just jumps to a whole other level.” Dean said.
The Cyclones have certainly made their presence known in Kansas with players like Angel Dominguez (Aquinas), Marcel Spears Jr. (Olathe North) and having players like Breece Hall (Wichita Northwest ’19) with Dean committing there. Dean won’t be the first SEK League player to play for the Cyclones either. Jacob Lattimer (Fort Scott ’07) was an All Big 12 pick for the Cyclones at defensive end several years back. Nearby Cherryvale also had a player start for the Cyclones in Joe Blaes (2005 alum) on the offensive line.
Dean is believed to be the first Labette County High School football player to ever have an FBS scholarship while still in high school. Of course, 2010 LCHS grad Brannon “Moose” Green, would get one to Oklahoma as a tight end, but that was after two years at Fort Scott Community College where he developed into a FBS prospect. Green would start in parts of two seasons for the Sooners and played in the Sugar Bowl where the Sooners beat Alabama.
Labette County has a shot to be a pretty successful team in 4A as well, they really could be one of those top five teams in the classification, along with the likes of Miege, McPherson Goddard and Pittsburg. The Grizzlies hadn’t had a ton of success over the years but Price has changed that. The program, who went 9-2 last fall, is now an SEK League Champion, winning the league in 2017. They also won their first playoff game last year since the year 2000. The Grizzlies have just three playoff wins as a school with one each in 1993, 2000 and 2017.
“I think we have a chance to make a run. We lost some good seniors from last year but we just reloaded. I think we have some guys that can fill those spots. I am really looking forward to Friday nights. We have a lot of supporters in our town that love football and really bring a crowd. The game wouldn’t be the same without them.”
LCHS returns just three starters on offense and five starters on defense and will open up the 2018 campaign against Pittsburg High School on August 31st.
We caught up with the outstanding senior student athlete below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas.
This feature is presented by Labette Bank proud to support Southeast Kansas area athletics. Also special thanks to Stockyards Travel Plaza in Parsons, Bartlet Co-op and Craw-Kan Telephone for powering coverage with LCHS this season.
Chet Kuplen, CEO/Founder of Sports in Kansas, on Dean
"He completley took full advantage of his first year as a starter last year. Not many first year starters produce how he did and land FBS offers. Personally I like him as an ATH or QB as a recruit. I think there's a lot you can do with him. He's strong in the weight room as well and can move. If QB doesn't work out for one reason or the other, you can put weight and make him a TE or OT. It sounds crazy to say QB to OL but not many kids have a 6'7" frame that can move like him, so he has the ability to add a lot of weight and maintain speed. Lane Johnson in the NFL was a juco QB, he's now one of the best lineman in the NFL. Now I am not comparing the two just saying with his frame there's a lot you can do with him because of his athleticism. He's got 4.6 HH speed at 225 pounds and cleans 315 pounds. He's an athlete. He's a humble kid as well and all about the team. We had to beg him to do the feature, but when one of the best athletes in the state is in a tiny town like his people need to know about it across the state. LCHS is a team to watch in 4A and has made nice strides recently. I think we will be hearing a lot of Kale Irwins name as well, very underrated WR that will be Deans top target."
Q&A w/ Dean
What are your goals this season?
The ultimate goal is to win a state championship, but for me personally I want to be the best quarterback I can and be the best qb in the state. I want to throw for at least 2500 yards and rush for 1000 yards.
Do you guys have a chance to make a run this year?
Well of course I think we have a chance to make a run this year, we lost a lot of seniors but we just reloaded and we think we got some guys that can fill those spots.
What makes you such a force as a player?
What makes me such a force as a player is my ability to run and throw, I feel like my ability to run is makes me a much more dangerous quarterback.
What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday nights for your school and town?
It really is truly special just like it is in every town. We have a lot of supporters in our town that love football so we can really bring a crowd and to put on a show for all the fans is really special for me because the game wouldn’t be the same without all of our supporters.
For everyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
Well first of all if you like high powered offenses then you definitely want to come watch us because we like to put points on the board, but I don’t like to disappoint, so I go out there give it all I got, I don’t want to walk off the field knowing that I could’ve done more, and I like to put on a show.
Who are other key players on your team?
Our players only go one way so everyone plays a big role on our team, but Kale Irwin who is a returning receiver is going to be huge this year he’s a very fast and explosive player that can go up and get a ball and runs great routes and I expect him to have a huge year. I think our other receivers have came along way over the summer as well and I expect good things out of them too. The lineman have worked really hard over the summer, despite the fact of being a little undersized they work hard and they should have a great year as well. On the defensive side of the Zach McCarty as been a great leader on the other side of the ball and he is definitely one of the fastest linebackers in the state and he likes to bring the wood. Caleb Hentzen and Ethan Jamison are going to be huge in the secondary this year, they can both fly through the air and make some huge plays. Clayton Moore and Caleb Haggard are two great D-lineman, Clayton didn’t get to play much last year because of injury but he is great with his hand and get by lineman and Caleb is just a beast on the line that I think can go through anyone you put over him.
Favorite thing about football?
My favorite thing is just the sport in general, it’s the greatest sport in the world. The physicality and atmosphere of the game is just different and there’s nothing else like it, it’s a sport where the crowd can really get involved and I don’t think there is such a thing as a boring football game, everything about just gives me chills.
Do you play any other sports, tell us about them?
I play basketball and baseball, basketball is usually a huge sport in Labette County so being able to play that is a really great feeling, and that’s another sport that we always bring a huge crowd in. Baseball for me is just a fun sport, and it really keeps my arm strength where it needs to be to be ready for football.
What is like to play for coach Price?
To play for our really means a lot, because he cares about us so much and does so much for us and he teaches us more than just football, so there is no way you can’t go out and play hard for him because everything that he does for us there is no way you can let him down. The bonds he creates with us is very special and the trust the he gives me when I’m on the field really means a lot and it just gives me more confidence when I’m out there.
What did you and your team do in the off season to become better?
We really just worked as hard as we could and we pushed each and held each other accountable, and we all go to several camps together and that really helps us a ton. Something I worked on was just my footwork in the pocket and just overall the fundamentals.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
Interest I see is the atmosphere, the atmosphere in college just jumps to a whole other level. I’ve committed to play football at Iowa State!
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
When I’m not playing sports I like to hunt and fish and just be in the outdoors and hang out with my friends.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My goal in 10 years is to be playing the NFL.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
My favorite subject would have to be math, I’m the type of student that always turns his stuff in on time and stays on top of his work, and GPA is 3.875.
Who is your role model?
My role model is my dad, just the stuff that he does for our family and always looking out for us really means a lot.
Best place to eat in your town or surrounding area?
I would say Ernesto’s in Parsons.
Something you'd like to add?
I’d just like to wish everyone good luck this year, and play safe!