Dean Faddis’ accomplishments as a student-athlete at Ramona High School have earned him a full grant athletic scholarship to the University of Nevada at Reno. He started classes this month.
Nevada had an eight-game winning streak in 2009 and played in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. The Wolf Pack is a Football Bowl Subdivision—formerly Division I—school, the highest level of collegiate football. It is a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
As a Ramona High School student, Faddis earned a 3.75 grade point average. He graduated in 2009 and enrolled at Palomar College, where his average “slipped” to 3.50 the first semester of the school year.
As an athlete, he started playing Pop Warner football when he was 8 years old in Murrieta. He continued at Ramona High School, playing on a Valley League championship freshman team as freshman. He made the varsity and started as a defensive back his sophomore season.
He broke his arm in the first game of his junior year and missed the rest of the season, then returned for his senior year and was a two-way player. He earned All Valley League honors as a defensive back. He was also a member of the CIF championship track team his junior year and a member of the CIF championship 4x100 meter relay team that year. He was a member of the CIF runner-up in the same event as a senior.
At Palomar College, Faddis was named to the All Conference and All State teams as a defensive back.
“Most scholarships are based on a player’s junior year,” said Damon Baldwin, head football coach and athletic director at Ramona High School. “Since Dean missed his junior year, he was off of the radar his senior year. That is why the junior college system is so great.
“Dean was a full qualifier out of high school. He had the grades and the SAT score to be eligible for a grant in aid, which allowed him to attend Palomar College and play as a freshman. Since he was a qualifier, he was able to transfer after one season of JC ball and get a scholarship.”
Colleges would rather have a player for three years instead of two, said Baldwin.
“Most players don’t see significant playing time as freshmen, so Dean got a year of experience and will have three years of eligibility at Nevada,” said Baldwin. “It is a great deal for Dean and Nevada.”
Baldwin is no stranger to the recruiting process. He was a college coach and recruiter at San Diego State University for nine years before coming to Ramona High School. He knows the rules and regulations of recruiting. He had a stack of RHS student-athletes’ transcripts on his desk in the football office when Faddis signed his letter of intent to accept a grant in aid at Nevada.
“It is my job to see that every student-athlete in my program has the proper grades and test scores if they intend to play at the next level,” said Baldwin. “It is so important to realize as parents that, if your son or daughter is good enough to play at the major collegiate level, most places will find you.”
It is important for the students to take the SAT and ACT as early as they can and to keep grades other than A’s and B’s off their transcript.
“The NCAA has made recruiting much tougher the past five years,” said Baldwin. “Coaches will not recruit you if you are not close to being a slam dunk as a student. Schools can get reprimands and sanctions for bringing in students that do not graduate. It can also cost coaches their jobs.”
Faddis, whose career goal is to be a physical therapist, plans on majoring in kinesiology at Nevada. Kinesiology is considered pre-med at Nevada. His favorite class at RHS was English and he said his favorite teacher was John Swafford.
Faddis is quick to give his parents, Dan and Beth, credit for motivating him. When asked if they supported him in athletics and academics, he replied, “Very much but mostly in academics. They impressed upon me the value of an education.”
Dean will be playing for newly named defensive coordinator Andy Buh, who has a North County and San Diego connection. Buh graduated from Orange Glen High School, played at Palomar and transferred to Nevada. He worked with Baldwin at SDSU for four years and has also coached at Orange Glen, Fresno State and Stanford.
“I know Andy and I knew that when he saw Dean on film that he would want to recruit him,” said Baldwin.
Faddis is the first Ramona football player to sign a Football Bowl Subdivision letter of intent in the Damon Baldwin era. Several Ramona players have gone to Football Championship Subdivision schools—formerly Division I AA—recently, but none have signed with FBS schools in the 1980s. Mike Murray (CSULB), Adam Klukowski (Utah State) and Jason Emerick (U of Utah) continued their educations at the Division I level. In the 1990s, Tony Sotelo signed a letter of intent at Colorado State University.