Some high school football players, quite understandably, relish the recruiting process and the attention that comes along with it.
Avante Dickerson is not one of those players.
The four-star defensive back from Omaha Westside is back on the market after decommitting from Minnesota on Sunday and said in a tweet that he will be announcing his destination on Feb. 3, which is National Signing Day.
If the past couple of years are any indication, don’t expect Dickerson to be making the rounds on the interview circuit between now and then.
“We don’t know and we don’t get a lot of national exposure, so you know what, especially to Avante, he enjoyed that attention from the standpoint of recognizing his talents, but he didn’t relish in the limelight or the spotlight and he never will,” Westside head football coach Brett Froendt told the Journal Star late last week, shortly before Dickerson reopened his recruitment. “He’s just a quiet kid who’s excited for his opportunities, and he’s trying to figure out the next step. That never really swayed him or changed him at all. Didn’t change his approach, didn’t change his work ethic or motivation.”
The Huskers have recruited Dickerson all along and are believed to still be in the picture along with Oregon. He only publicly backed off his commitment to Minnesota this weekend, but he clearly intended to keep his options open when he didn't sign a National Letter of Intent in December.
It is unclear if NU and Oregon are the only contenders or if others have entered the picture, too.
What is clear is that Dickerson is a terrific athlete, described by Froendt as simply “Special. Very special.” He received first-team Super-State honors from the Journal Star after accounting for 886 all-purpose yards, including 583 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns in helping lead Westside to a Class A state championship. Defensively, Dickerson had four interceptions and recovered two fumbles.
He’s a consensus four-star prospect, considered by the 247Sports Composite to be the No. 121 player nationally, the No. 8 cornerback and the top player in the state of Nebraska for 2021. Rivals considers him the No. 232 player nationally and second in the state behind NU offensive line signee and midyear enrollee Teddy Prochazka.
His excellent senior season came as no surprise to his head coach.
“He knew it was his time to takeover just in terms of leadership. He’s not a vocal guy at all, but he’s very good one-on-one, he’s very good supporting his teammates and he really took that next step,” Froendt said. “Then, I think his teammates always respected him, but the communication back and forth between him and his teammates, he started seeing their expectations that they needed him to be good every week, and he responded in a great way in terms of supporting his less experienced teammates. I think that’s where the confidence jumped as well; he just did a great job of mentoring and leading individuals in his own way, in a quiet way. But you could see he wanted it. He wanted to get the medal, to earn that achievement in high school that he’s a champion.
“He really took that to heart and he was extra focused in practice. Not that he was never not focused, but he never missed a beat, never had to be told twice. He was really good, particularly the last two-thirds of the year, on getting everyone else on the same page.”
Now, Dickerson’s got one more big decision to make. Fellow Westside standout Koby Bretz is signed with Nebraska, as are several other players he knows well. Oregon, of course, is an attractive destination and a familiar face awaits in cornerbacks coach Rod Chance, who coached corners at Minnesota and left the program shortly before Dickerson verbally pledged to UM.
One thing is for certain: Dickerson’s decision will draw plenty of attention, even if that’s not what he’s after.
“He’s just a business-type of guy. He just goes about his business to be the best he can be,” Froendt said. “But having the gifts is what brought all the attention and kept the attention, for sure.”
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