Washington Prep sophomore linebacker Gabriel Dean makes highlight videos for his friends (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The effort that sophomore Gabriel Dean put in the Washington Prep football team helped them to a 5-2 overall record and a 3-0 Metro League record.

His older cousin introduced him to football after getting him involved in baseball.

“[Football] was the first sport that I really got into,” Dean said.

Dean currently plays linebacker and nickel for the Generals. He explained how learning the techniques for the linebacker position was a challenge.

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“I had never played linebacker before, I was always kind of a chubby kid, so they put me on [defensive] line and offensive line,” Dean said. “Learning the coverages and learning the blitzes and stuff, that was probably the hardest part.”

Dean grew fond of stopping the run, he made four solo tackles in the General’s 46-6 victory over the New Designs Watts Knights and five total tackles in their 42-6 victory over the L.A. High Romans.

“It’s kind of fun, honestly,” Dean said. “It’s like you’re watching them go right where you expect them to go, so it’s really fun.”

Coaches tell Dean the importance of being coachable and how that could bring him opportunities.

“I’ve been switched throughout a lot of positions, basically the whole team,” Dean said. “But my coaches were like “Gabe, you’re really coachable, so you can go somewhere far with that.””

Dean noted how being a student athlete is like a “nine-to-five job” to him. He does his best to work on his studies at school so he can spend time studying other teams and training when he is at home.

“It’s not like you just get to stop working on football or stop doing your homework after you get out of school,” he said. “You got to study, start training out of school, it’s just a lot.”

Dean’s favorite classes are world history and video production. He enjoys working behind the camera.

“Right now, I think we’re learning about the Renaissance. It’s like a bunch of art and Italian history,” Dean said about his world history class.

Outside of football, Dean competes in track and field in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and the long jump. Dean noted how competing in the long jump helps with football.

“It helps with explosiveness,” Dean said. “Just working in the sandpit and working on bounds, it helps a lot with explosiveness.”

Outside academics and athletics, Dean enjoys listening to music and drawing as well as doing photography and videography.

“I made a couple highlight tapes for some of my friends,” Dean said. “It was fun learning all the editing skills and just learning how to cut clips and make them slower and speed up, matching them with the song.”

Dean also helped coach his cousin’s football team as an assistant last year.

“Teaching him all the stuff that I’ve learned so far in high school is really fun,” Dean said. “When you say “I play varsity for a high school” and seeing their eyes light up, it’s just really nice.”