Hours after Auburn trampled Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl on Friday, Dean announced via social media that he was planning to make himself available for the 2019 NFL Draft.
"For me, words cannot even explain how thankful I am to attend and play football for Auburn University," Dean wrote on his Instagram account. "At one point in time, football was almost taken away from me before I could even play a snap of college football. Thanks to Auburn University, I was given the opportunity to play the game I love. Also, I was able to build relationships with so many people. The bonds and memories I have made with my teammates and coaches will forever be cherished.
"With that being said, I will be forgoing my senior year and declaring for the NFL Draft. My family and I feel like this is the best decision for me. Once again, thank you so much Auburn."
Dean registered 30 tackles, two interceptions and one sack in 12 games for the Tigers this season. He appeared in 26 games over the past two seasons, making 22 starts.
A high-profile recruit out of high school in Florida, Dean initially signed with Ohio State in 2015, but he tore his meniscus for the second time before even joining the Buckeyes.
Dean was medically disqualified from playing at Ohio State and transferred to Auburn. He was poised to start for the Tigers but injured his other knee in fall camp, requiring season-ending surgery that forced him to miss the 2016 campaign.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Dean 43 had tackles and eight pass deflections in 14 games in 2017.