Growing up in the small town of Brunswick, Georgia, University of Miami commit DeeJay Dallas has always seen himself as a leader.
"My uncle raised me to be a leader, he always used to ask me like 'what's a leader?'," Dallas said. "And I always used to respond, 'A leader is someone who knows how to lead and when to follow.' And I feel like now is my time to lead."
Although he still has one year remaining, Dallas has proven he can lead at the high school level. As a junior, Dallas led his team to a 12-3 overall record and state championship appearance; all while garnering attention from several top universities around the nation. Three months before his senior season; however, Dallas narrowed the list down to one school, and decided to commit to the University of Miami. The four star prospect will be enrolling before the spring of 2017, and although he has one semester remaining in high school, Dallas has already begun to help define the team's future.
"When I committed, I already had it in my mind that I was gonna help recruit for this class," Dallas, who committed to the team nearly a week ago said. "Me just being who I am, I try to surround myself with the best. Right now I'm trying to surround myself with the best classmates, if you want to call it that, that I can possibly have."
Dallas has been working hard since his commitment to try and bring in top prospects for the 'Canes. Since his commitment, Dallas has tweeted about top prospects such as Trajan Bandy.
@BandyTrajan Oklahoma? Cmon man .. We doing big things in squad 17 . We Bringing the U back come be apart!— DeeJay Dallas (@Deejaydallas5) May 26, 2016
But while it remains important for Miami to keep their recruiting base in South Florida, Dallas has helped open up avenues out of state for Miami. As the 'Canes first 2017 commit from Georgia, Dallas knows what it is like to be an out-of-state recruit. Not only has Dallas embraced his role, but he has also taken on the leadership position in helping to bring out-of-state talent such as Anthony McFarland to Miami.
Mark Richt came to Miami with a plan to combine the outstanding local talent with the talent of athletes from other parts of the U.S., and Dallas is now helping him put this plan into action.
"I feel like with me being an out of state guy, it does give me that edge," Dallas said. "For me being an out-of-state commit, it's like alright, so DeeJay did it, I can do it too. It's that follow me factor."
DeeJay has begun to lead off the field, and is expected to be a dynamic playmaker for the 'Canes once he arrives on campus. Dallas has played a multitude of positions throughout his high school career, and currently plays quarterback at Glynn Academy. Once he arrives in Miami, Dallas will likely play a different position; either receiver or defensive back. DeeJay envisions himself playing "receiver more than DB," but stressed he would do whatever the coaches ask of him. At the moment, he can be explosive in both units, and the team's future depth might result in him getting on the field early in his Miami career.
Dallas is set to cap off his high school career, and there is little doubt he plans to use the reputation he created on the field to bring in other recruits. Dallas has already begun to make relationships with those involved with the program in Coral Gables, and plans to see a return to Miami's glory days in the near future. In the past, when Miami's program rebuilt itself, it was several individual classes that helped it emerge. Whether it was classes that included Alonzo Highsmith and Melvin Bratton under Howard Schnellenberger's regime, or Ed Reed and Santana Moss under Butch Davis' tenure, several players changed the course of Miami's football program. It has happened in the 'Canes past, and in DeeJay Dallas' mind, history will repeat itself.
"We are probably gonna end up being the number one class in the nation, and then the next year we will probably have the number one class again," Dallas said. "So really we are just preparing to win a national championship. Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three, maybe four; but once that '17 class gets there, we're gonna turn it around."
Class of 2017 Highlights (Video courtesy of RichtEra via YouTube):