If you haven’t heard the name Avante Dickerson by now, I’m afraid you haven’t been paying attention. Here’s what you need to know about Westside High School’s rising star.
Dickerson is fast. He’s 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash fast. He’s, “Don’t blink because you’ll miss something,” fast. He’s long and rangy. He’s the guy that quarterbacks see in their floated flat route nightmares. Dickerson is six points the other way.
He isn’t, however, fast enough to outrun the starry-eyed recruiters of college football’s powerhouse programs. It’s not like he’d want to, even if he could.
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” Dickerson said. “I think any kid who has a D-I offer would enjoy it. That’s just a dream come true for anyone.”
Dickerson is a junior and the top-ranked recruit in Nebraska for the 2021 class. His national rank by recruiting websites varies, but most agree that he’s a top 10 or 15 cornerback prospect. ESPN ranks Dickerson the 36th overall prospect and the #4 cornerback in his class. His offer list is impressive and includes Ohio State, LSU, Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State and yes, Nebraska. Michigan and Notre Dame have shown interest but have yet to officially extend a scholarship offer.
It’s not hype, either. Dickerson is a legitimate Division-I talent. “Clearly, he’s got God-given gifts that you don’t coach and you don’t teach,” said Westside head coach Brett Froendt. “I told him last year, if he wants to play on Sundays, I think he’s got the innate ability.”
Dickerson was fast to make that impression, too. He started at corner and kick returner for Westside as a freshman. Though he only returned four kickoffs in that 2017 season, three of them went for touchdowns. His average was an eye-popping 72.5 yards per return.
As a sophomore, Dickerson got more involved on the offensive side of the ball. His explosiveness and dynamic abilities were too great to keep on the shelf for half the game. Dickerson averaged 6.9 yards per carry and scored 11 touchdowns on just 115 touches as a running back. While Dickerson’s future is probably on the defensive side of the ball, his past is replete with that kind of offensive production.
“I was always the fastest,” Dickerson said. “In third grade, I played running back. They would just give me the ball, and I’d run downfield and score.”
With the bulk of two high school seasons ahead of him, Dickerson is likely to find the endzone a few more times before he’s gone. That is, if the injury bug doesn’t hang around too long.
In the spring of 2019, Dickerson suffered a setback. While running for the Westside track team, he pulled his groin. It would ultimately cause him to miss the entirety of his sophomore track season.
And in the summer workout program for football there was yet another. Dickerson injured his hamstring. It kept him sidelined for a large portion of the preseason run-up to the 2019 season.
“Injuries, they suck,” Dickerson said. “You just have to deal with it. I’m going through rehab, going through the process. I’m doing it so I can get better and be 100% for my team.”
Doing it for the team is a common theme with Dickerson. He’s more likely to tell you about his desire to make his teammates better than he is to actually talk about his own game. It’s not lost on his head coach, either.
“The great thing about Avante is he’s humble,” Froendt said. “He doesn’t take anything for granted. He doesn’t have an ego. He just goes about his business.”
Froendt expresses how rare it is for an athlete of Dickerson’s caliber to remain so grounded. The humility and straightforward, down-to-business attitude works for Froendt, who comes off much the same. It serves as a reminder to other players on the team that arrogance doesn’t have a place in the program. For that, Dickerson’s mother, a Westside graduate, gets the credit.
“My mom raised me as a humble kid,” Dickerson said. “I’m going to stay humble for the rest of my life. That’s just the right way to be.”
You won’t find Dickerson engaging in trash talk or ostentatious displays. It’s just not his style. He’d much rather show you the depth of his talent with his stellar play. But you’d better be paying attention. If you blink, you just might miss it. Because Avante Dickerson is fast!
Don’t miss Avante Dickerson and Omaha Westside take on Papillion La Vista this Friday night at 7pm on GameTime and streaming live on YurView.com.