February 17, 2011

Drake to bring speed, character to UA

Monday night's commitment of Kenyan Drake to the University of Alabama gave the Crimson Tide arguably the top running back from the Peach State for the 2012 cycle. Philip Ironside, Drake's coach at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, GA, speaks very highly of his star player's skills, both on and off the gridiron.

"He's a great athlete- he has great speed and great hands," said Ironside. "He's very versatile. He creates a lot of problems for our opponents. When we're in the wishbone he be our downhill guy- we'd call a pitch and he'd take it to the house. Then we'd go to the spread and he'd catch the screen, catch the vertical pass, and run the stretch play. Right now he's doing stuff that is similar to what Oregon does on offense. He's talented. We want the ball in his hands because he's a playmaker, and I'm sure Alabama will too."

Despite being one of the more physically impressive running backs in the southeast, Ironside contends that Drake has more room for growth.

"He's a 190 pound kid- he's still a young pup. He's going to grow a bunch. His dad is a very strong individual, so he's not going to be small in the least. Our strength coach does an outstanding job in the weight room and our kids have bought in to the program. I think it's one of the big reasons why we have a lot of kids sign with good schools. The kids are working hard and getting developed. You have to have natural ability to go anywhere, and our kids are maximizing what they've got by working hard."

On Monday, Drake cited his desire to fully focus on his senior year at Hillgrove as one of the reasons for his early commitment. One of his main goals is to develop into a vocal leader for the Hawks.

"He lets his play speak for itself," said Ironside. "He's been a younger guy with some really good players over him, so he hasn't said much. We'll see the leadership out of him this year. I've talked with him about setting his legacy here. He's a great player and it's important for those guys to have leadership and set the tone for the rest of the team. He's a very good kid and has never been a problem. He's been raised well and is very low maintenance. He does very good in school and has his grades are already set."

As a junior, Drake accounted for 1,800 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns.

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