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Three Mid-South players in Monday's National Championship Game

Nakobe Dean (Horn Lake) and Bill Norton (CBHS) will take the field for Georgia, Richard Hunt (Briarcrest) for Alabama

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What is it like to watch your child play in a National Championship Game?

"I'm a ball of emotions with excitement, joy, anticipation, expectations," Neketta Dean said. "There are so many things going on right now."

Dean is in Indianapolis to watch her son Nakobe as the linebacker and the Georgia Bulldogs take on Alabama on Monday night.

The game marks a high point in a long journey to success. As a single mother raising three children, Neketta often worked long hours, even nights where her kids slept in her office as she finished projects.

"There were trials that came with being a single parent," She said. "But we still held on to those values. That we're in it. And what I did, I did it for them."

There are even brighter days ahead for the Dean family. The Horn Lake product is projected to be a first-round pick in this year's NFL Draft. But for Neketta, nothing compares to that postgame hug.

"That euphoric feeling that I have when my son sees me after a game and his face lights up," she said. "There is no amount someone could give me that would replace that."

Nakobe isn't the only local tie to the title game. His teammate, DL Bill Norton, graduated from Christian Brothers. On the opposite side of the field, an old high school rival of Norton's in Briarcrest alum and Alabama tight end Richard Hunt.

"They were always good rivals, but when they're off the field they're all good buddies," Stacy Norton, Bill's mom said. "I think there is a bond just being from Memphis."

Hunt got his national championship last year with the Crimson Tide. Now Nakobe and Bill hope it's their turn. 

"I'm sitting here having visions of it," Neketta said. "I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to run on the field. Are they going to let us run on the field?"

"I can see it right now," Norton said. "I hope that it turns out that way. I think his team has what it takes."

Kickoff for Monday's National Championship Game is at 7:00 p.m.