Hillgrove junior RB Kenyan Drake adds offers from UGA, UT

Hillgrove's Kenyan Drake, here battling for yards against Brookwood, gained more than 1,600 yards for the Hawks as a junior this season. (AJC photo by Alexandra Acosta)

Hillgrove's Kenyan Drake, here battling for yards against Brookwood, gained more than 1,600 yards for the Hawks as a junior this season. (AJC photo by Alexandra Acosta)

You have to appreciate the emotions that must have been running through Kenyan Drake’s head during the Georgia-Georgia Tech game this past Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

The Hillgrove High junior running back showed up in Athens fully expecting to receive a scholarship offer from the Bulldogs. But he arrived a little late and did not end up with a recruiting host. As a result, he “kind of got lost” among the 100 or so recruits who flooded the game as visitors. So he never got a one-on-one meeting with any coaches, including head coach Mark Richt, who he was hoping to spend some time with.

Then the game ensued. Drake is close with former and current Hillgrove teammates Synjyn Days, a Georgia Tech freshman quarterback, and linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days, a Tech commitment. And he has long held his only offer from the Yellow Jackets. So Drake’s instincts told him to root for the team in white and gold. But he said he grew up following the Bulldogs, has long hoped for an offer from the state university and, of course, was there as UGA’s guest.

“To tell you the truth, I was confused on who to root for,” Drake said with a laugh. “As the night went on and I didn’t hear from anybody [from Georgia], I got kind of skeptical. At the end I just wanted to see who wins.”

Drake didn’t know how to react after the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on a wild and wacky 42-34 victory.

“Even when we went into the [Georgia] locker room, I was still feeling sort of weird,” he said. “They kept telling me to wait around. I waited all the way until after the all the media things, about midnight. That’s when Coach Richt came up to me and asked me to step outside. He told me they were wanted to offer me a scholarship. He said it was supposed to happen before the game but it didn’t work out that way.”

Make no mistake about it, Drake was both happy and relieved to get the offer.

“It felt great,” said Drake, who led the Hawks into the Class AAAAA quarterfinals before bowing out to Brookwood this past weekend. “I think it’s a pretty big accomplishment. I grew up watching Georgia and Georgia Tech since I was a kid. It’d be a dream to play for either of them. I’ve always liked Georgia and I’m interested in what they have to offer.”

The interest in Drake is understandable. The 6-foot, 188-pound athlete is considered by Scout.com to be one of the top 20 juniors in Georgia in the Class of 2012. In addition to impressive showings at camps and combines last summer, Drake has proven to be productive and versatile on the football field. He had right at 1,000 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns and more than 600 yards receiving and another eight scores.

All the production and notoriety is nice. But Drake would trade it all to still be playing. Hillgrove made one of the more exhilarating runs through the playoffs this year, knocking off Stephenson and No. 1-ranked Camden to reach the quarterfinals. Brookwood used a late rally to finally knock off the Hawks 45-35.

“It was tough when I had to stay after school [Monday] to turn in my pads,” Drake said. “That’s when it really hits you that it’s over.”

But it’s really just beginning for Drake. Tennessee surprised him with his third offer Monday night. He has been invited to junior combines at the both Under Armour and the U.S. Army All-America games and has been selected to play in the new Rising Seniors All-Star game in January.

As for where he’ll eventually end up, Drake has no idea.

“No, no leader,” he said. “It’s basically a wide open race. Hopefully more offers will be coming.”

That he can count on.

131 comments Add your comment

mike

December 1st, 2010
6:46 am

RedandBlack

December 1st, 2010
6:49 am

It is great to be a Georgia Bulldog! Go Dogs!!

gomdawg

December 1st, 2010
7:01 am

He looks like one fine player and shows a lot of class. GO DAWGS

JB

December 1st, 2010
7:09 am

We need to sign two backs this year and two next. Redshirt Malcome is the only guy really in the wings after Ealey and King leave after next year, although neither have looked like high picks to leave early.

Mountain Dawg

December 1st, 2010
7:29 am

We need to sign as many good RB’s as we can. It shouldn’t be that hard to beat out King and Ealey. They are just two mediocre SEC running backs who probably couldn’t start for anybody except maybe Vandy and Ole Miss.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
7:38 am

I look forward to the day when I read a story like this and the kid in question holds an offer from the Dogs but is holding out for an offer from the Jackets.

GO JACKETS!

Sandman053

December 1st, 2010
7:42 am

It’s still great to be a Georgia Bulldog! Now maybe we can get back to being Tailback U! Go Dawgs!

jalex49

December 1st, 2010
7:55 am

King and Ealey can be outstanding and productive backs at Georgia if the offensive line can get together. We need a better offensive coordinator/play-caller who will not settle for “not getting it done” on the offensive line.

I believe that the men Georgia has on the offensive line are talented but for some reason this year did not produce. It always goes back to the COACH and what they will accept.

I hope that the 2011 commits will stay with Georgia and hopefully some of the big name offensive recruits that haven’t committed , will commit. Combined with what we already have and Coach Richt’s “Dream team” recruits, if they come will have a tremendous impact on getting Georgia back to it’s rightful place in the SEC and football lore.

I wish the Georgia Coaches the best in recruiting these prospects. Coach Grantham is going to get the defense right, he only needs his type of players-go get them….

Coach Richt it is your up-coming year in the SEC. Either you will rise too the challenge and beome revelant in the SEC or fall to the annals of past Georgia/college coaches. I pray and wish you and your staff the best, because I want you to succeed.

JacketInsider

December 1st, 2010
8:16 am

Great back, wish he would come to Tech, but the WOTS already says he is going to Athens.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
8:23 am

wesleywhatwhat

December 1st, 2010
8:28 am

he seems to have good hands, excellent speed and makes some nice cuts.

good luck to the kid. come to georgia tech with your friends if u want to WIN!

Walker, Texas Ranger

December 1st, 2010
8:28 am

All these runs were through giant holes. I would like to see the guy run in a basic offense instead of a spread. We need a back like Allen at Tech or Lattimore at SC that breaks tackles, drags people and dishes out some punishment. All our backs go down at first contact. It is time to get a big back.

nash

December 1st, 2010
8:29 am

King and Early have the same flaw they don’t hold on to the football. Aside from that King could be high draft picks this season.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
8:31 am

Walker,
I think everyone would love to have one like Lattimore. Guys like that don’t grow on trees, unfortunately…

RxDawg

December 1st, 2010
8:37 am

“King and Early have the same flaw they don’t hold on to the football. Aside from that King could be high draft picks this season.”

I agree with that… Something tells me King’s career will pan out similar to the way Terrel Davis did.

Tide Roll

December 1st, 2010
8:39 am

come to alabama son were we give up 24 point lead. If we had any kind of a running game we could have held on to that lead. so pleese come to bama. we need you bad. RTR

Walker, Texas Ranger

December 1st, 2010
8:41 am

Also, I’m tired of Granthem getting a pass this year. Georgia did not have a single statement game on defense. And you can say that TG didn’t have the type players he needs to run a 3-4, an that may be true at the Nose but the hardest position to fill in the 3-4 is the OLB and UGA has the top 3-4 OLB in College Football. This defense showed no improvement from the first game to the last. And all this from the third highest paid Defensive Cordinator. Couldn’t stop the spread, wing-t, or whatever anybody ran at UGA. Be prepared for another 6 win season with no running backs and no defense to stop the other teams running game.

Walker, Texas Ranger

December 1st, 2010
8:43 am

RambleOn, where did Allen come from. That guy is unlike anything we have. They don’t all have to be like Lattimore, I would take an Allen any day.

Paul in RDU

December 1st, 2010
8:45 am

WOTS = word on the street.
From reading the blog, it sounds like the kid’s life long dream is to play at UGA – good luck to him.

Wasted Talent

December 1st, 2010
8:46 am

He’ll end up being a waste of talent as long as Helen Hunt is still at the helm with his band of half-assed assistant coaches. I hope these kids like Tampa, because they’ll need to enjoy 4 years of Outback Bowls, at best. But at least they’ll be free for New Years Eve and beyond.

Walker, Texas Ranger

December 1st, 2010
8:49 am

Wasted, they’ll be lucky to see Tampa. Hell they’re holding out hope for Memphis.

Dawg in Chatt-town

December 1st, 2010
8:51 am

There is a running back at Whitewater High School outside of Atlanta that they need to look at also. Saw him play a few weeks ago. Big, fast and hard to tackle. Made things happen even if the OL didn’t make their blocks. He’s worth a look.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
8:55 am

Allen was a transfer from Louisville, but originally came from Tampa.

RxDawg

December 1st, 2010
8:55 am

Ranger Walker, don’t forget how abysmal our secondary is. In fact, for the past 3 years or so I think that has been our achilles heel. It’s easy to want to jump on Grantham right now… I catch myself doing it sometimes. Then I make myself be rational about it, we really do need to see one more year from him. That said, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he had gave back ~ 1/3 of that hefty salary. Of course the same goes for Richt.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
8:57 am

He had a good freshman year at Louisville then for some reason fell behind on the depth chart. Johnson talked to him and convinced him to come play at Tech, where he came and redshirted in 2008, then played at A-back in 2009 til he moved to B-back this past year.

Jacket68

December 1st, 2010
8:58 am

Funny how he was just okay as a back wheb Tech offered but now he must be special since UGA offered – any pictures with the coach?

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
8:58 am

Tech and UGA fans need to give their respective DCs at least one more year before making any rash decisions…a brand new scheme takes time to implement and the players will definitely benefit from another offseason learning the ins and outs.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
9:00 am

Don’t be bitter, Jacket68…this has been a friendly discussion so far this morning…a rarity on these boards…let’s keep it going as long as we can.

td

December 1st, 2010
9:02 am

Wasted and Walker: If are you two still UGA fans (if you are)? If you hate the team this much why not go and support another team that will make you happy or just stop watching college football? It just amazes me that some people have the time and energy to bash the team that they are suppose to love.

BiGame

December 1st, 2010
9:06 am

What a bunch of suckers!! UGA already has 2-3 4-star RBs on the team and they can’t get it done. What makes anyone in this world think that UGA will be better if they add another one?

They need coaching. The talent is already on field fools! Spurrier is doing much MORE WITH LESS…take some notes.

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
9:13 am

Actually, Spurrier has done pretty much NOTHING at South Carolina with plenty of talent until he finally got an unbelievably talented running back.

Your statement couldn’t be much further from the truth.

JJ

December 1st, 2010
9:14 am

Georgia is good lately at wasting talent. I’d steer clear of UGA, unless you are scared of college and just want the easy way through. UGA = Easy useless diploma

RambleOn84

December 1st, 2010
9:16 am

I always wonder about the people who come on here and have nothing positive to say about their own teams…they can only speak negatively about other teams.

If you have constructive criticism about your own team, fine. But otherwise, try to stay positive. You will live longer.

Honest and Frank Discussion

December 1st, 2010
9:16 am

Kenyan,

Come to Georgia-Tech and we’ll make sure you don’t get lost on the sideline like you ALREADY DID at uga. You won’t just be a face in the crowd at the flats.

Uga’s had one 1,000+ yard rusher since 2008. Tech’s had 4 over that time, plus another 4 who’ve had 600+ yards.

Come to Tech!!

collegeballfan

December 1st, 2010
9:18 am

” The 6-foot, 188-pound athlete is considered by Scout.com to be one of the top 20 juniors in Georgia in the Class of 2012.”

This is kinda getting to be like the cover of Sports Illustrated, the kiss of death.

Considering that Georgia just finished 6-6 with a national top 10 rating of its last 5 recruiting classes by Scout makes one wonder if Scout even has a minor clue. What does Scout do, throw darts at a board with 0 through 5 on it? And if it hits a 4 the guy is a Four Star? Is that the way they do it?

WOTS

December 1st, 2010
9:21 am

Could you just imagine if Lattimore would have signed with Auburn? Yikes!

WDE

December 1st, 2010
9:30 am

UGA… Tailback U? Is that what yall call yourselves? That’s hilarious.

dawgster

December 1st, 2010
9:34 am

RambleOn84…good comments…most of the people that only have negative comments about their team know very little about football in my opinion…they jump on the bandwagon when things are all rosey, but when things are tough, they are the first ones to jump on with the bashing comments…its fair to critique your team and offer suggestions, but many of these comments go way over the line, and they also get into trading insults with other bloggers…go dawgs

collegeballfan

December 1st, 2010
9:34 am

Mountain Dawg 7:29 am
“…King and Ealey. They are just two mediocre SEC running backs…”

Mountain Dawg what do you want? Per Scout.com UGA has two 5 Star backs and 2 4 Star backs on the roster now. King and Samuel were 5 Star running backs per Scout.com. Ealey and Malone were 4 Star running backs per Scout.

What the heck do you want? What good would 2 more do you?

The problem is not the running backs.

anijahsdad

December 1st, 2010
9:35 am

@ Walker Texas Ranger

This is the first year Hillgrove ran the spread. Do a Google search and you will see him in triple option.

tenn.DAWG

December 1st, 2010
9:36 am

I hope he lands at UGA, but if he doen’t I hope he stays in state.After all thats where your family and friends are,you’ll play harder for them and be more appreciated than being a mercenary.

Bo

December 1st, 2010
9:40 am

Amen RambleOn84. It’s nice to see civility for a change.

FWIW, I think Carlton Thomas has a chance to be a damn good change of pace back and possibly even a Brian Westbrook type of player before he leaves. Hopefully Malcombe will be the guy everyone says he is or Crowell will decide to be the next premiere back at UGA.

Now if we can only get holes open long enough to get the running backs to the second level…

Rut Roh

December 1st, 2010
9:52 am

King and Ealey’s last carries for the Bulldogs will also be the last carries of their careers. Neither is going to play on the next level.

JM

December 1st, 2010
9:55 am

when was the last time a UGA running back had an 1200 yard season?

jasont13

December 1st, 2010
9:56 am

Honest and Frank Discussion- When you run the ball 98% of the time your going to have 1,000 yard rushers its only common sense. You can not just throw that in a recruits face. If thats the way things should happen then There should be no way Tech gets any decent wide receivers.

jasont13

December 1st, 2010
9:57 am

Rut Roh, I doubt your right. They said the same things with Kregg Lumpkin and Danny Ware. Last time I checked they were in the league.

Hillgrove Dad

December 1st, 2010
10:01 am

Enter your comments here

Destin Dawg

December 1st, 2010
10:03 am

Parade mag says ” UGA #2 large State University education plus big time sports ” in a great college town… kids that stay in State near family and friends do better in school.. and life after FB…. Go Dawgs !!!!

Hillgrove Dad

December 1st, 2010
10:05 am

Kenyan don’t go to tech and get beat up carrying the ball 40 times a game. Come to UGA where you can do like Moreno and get 15 -20 carries and save your body for the NFL. Besides we beat them 9 out of 10 years . Besides we have about 10 girls for every guy and its the opposite there.

True DAWG fan

December 1st, 2010
10:08 am

Great reads finally I can come on here and just talk football,I love my DAWGS!! and the game between GT/UGA wasn’t what either school wanted but I don’t care.I love college football,both school’s will rebound,Tech would be in better shape if they had Nesbitt all year,I hate playing anyone short handed.If we win I want to beat the other teams best,if we lose I want to lose to there best!…GO DAWGS!!!! @RambleOn84 thanks for the great reads and having class that is rare,plus I hope for the best on both schools b/c I support Ga. football,unless we are playing each other..lol