December 11, 2013

Imade carved out a role in spite of adversity

If you meet Deion Imade and mispronounce his last name, don't be discouraged-you are not the first and probably won't be the last to do so.

"It's not a traditional last name," Imade said. "My parents are Nigerian. It's common over there but it's not a name you hear too often."

Imade (pronounced ih-MAH-day) heard his name butchered numerous times during a high school game.

The public announcer kept saying "Ah-MODE-EE" when he or his older brother, Dexter, made a play. It got to the point where other parents were fed up with the mistake and went to the booth to correct the P.A. guy.

While playing at Rowlett High School in Rowlett, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, Imade made a name for himself despite playing with future NFL players such as Marquise Goodwin and Damontre Moore.

"We were all pretty cool," Imade said. "Everybody got their time and stuff. I'm not one looking for all that publicity, so it was real nice."

Imade may not have wanted the attention, but his play on the field warranted it. Imade started at safety for Rowlett when he faced the biggest challenge of his prep career-a playoff matchup with powerhouse Dallas Skyline.
Skyline puts out several Division I players each year and this particular squad was led by future UT standout Mike Davis. Imade brought his 'A' game, breaking up two passes and recording about eight tackles. He showed everyone-including himself-that he can play with the best.

"They put out a lot of good athletes," Imade said. "Even though we lost, I had a pretty good game. At that time I compared myself to that level of athleticism. I could really do this."

Imade took an unorthodox approach to his recruitment. He committed to OSU after his junior season rather than...

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