Take a look at De’Jahn Warren’s film, and you’d probably be a bit surprised to hear that he’s the top junior-college player in the country.
It’s by no means due to lack of talent, or the absence of a “wow” factor in his play. It’s simply that Warren’s tape prominently features special teams highlights.
In an era where special teams play has become something of a lost art, why is it that we find the highly regarded cornerback blocking extra points and rushing punters? Why would a player with such immense potential elect to participate in a unit usually reserved for dime-a-dozen backups?
“I know that most people don’t like special teams, but to be honest with you, I like it,” Warren says. “I always returned kicks, and then I have the opportunity to block kicks. It’s something I always wanted to do. So once I got the opportunity, I just made the best of it.”
The Maryland native, who currently plays at Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania, takes great pride in his multifaceted ability. As he’s done at Lackawanna, Warren wants to do a little bit of everything at the FBS level.
“I’m not looking for anything specific,” he says. “I would just like to be used as a weapon. Blitz me, put me in coverage or on special teams. I want to display my talents.”
Versatility and coachability are desirable traits in Norman, which led Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma to offer the 6-foot, 175-pound cornerback in February. And though he’s got offers from programs like Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Auburn and Penn State, Warren takes a particular interest in the crimson and cream.
“I see myself playing for that team,” he admits. “I like their program. I like talking to their coaches.”
Warren says that he’s gained great respect for Alex Grinch in particular. The Sooners defensive coordinator has notably endeared himself to many recruits, including Warren, with his amicable demeanor.
“I think he’s a really cool guy,” Warren says. “Great personality. We have good conversations on the phone. This is my first year playing corner, so I need a coach that can really develop me. So that’s something that I keep in mind.”
Given that he’s still adjusting to his position and preparing for his final season of junior college ball, Warren plans to be quite deliberate in making his collegiate decision. He’s stated that December 14 is the day he’ll commit, which falls just two days before national signing day.
“I’m waiting on visits just to see where it goes, to be honest,” he says. “I’m just going to wait it out, see how I feel. That date [December 14] gives me some time to make my decision and keep my decision.”
Warren has scheduled official visits to Penn State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Georgia, with his trip to Norman booked for November 20. He intends to take a fifth visit, but told SI Sooners that he’s unsure where that visit will be.
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