Hillgrove RB Kenyan Drake chooses Bama over Tech, UGA

Hillgrove's Kenyan Drake stiffarms a McEachern defender during a game last October. He totaled 1,800 yards offense and 20 touchdowns as a junior. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Hillgrove's Kenyan Drake stiffarms a McEachern defender during a game last October. He totaled 1,800 yards offense and 20 touchdowns as a junior. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Listening to Kenyan Drake explain his commitment to Alabama Monday night was like hearing a Crimson Tide coach offer a recruiting pitch.

“In my eyes, you can’t get a better offer than Alabama,” said Drake, a 6-0, 188-pound running back from Hillgrove High in Powder Springs. “They offer you top-tier academics and top-tier athletics. It’s just, like, what else can you get from a college? I decided, why wait when I already have a great feeling about Alabama?”

Drake projects as one of the top running back prospects — if not THE top running back — in the state of Georgia for the Class of 2012. I had already tabbed him for my “Tentative Ten,” my super early list of the 10 best prospects in the state for the coming season. And he was a pretty easy pick.

As a junior at Hillgrove last season, Drake accounted for nearly 1,200 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns plus another 600 yards and eight touchdowns receiving. In addition to alabama, which offered him after he attended their junior camp last month, Drake had received scholarship invitations from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Purdue and Tennessee.

But his recruitment was really just starting to get into high gear. With Drake’s reputation and production over the last couple of seasons, and the junior camp season just getting started, he probably would have ended up with a couple dozen offers at least by the start of his senior season.

That’s not what Drake wanted.

“I weighed the pros and cons of committing early and it really suited me,” Drake said. “First of all, the recruiting process was was really starting to heat up. It was almost becoming a distraction to the greater goals, which is to help my team win and keep up my grades. I could see where the frequent calls to the house and stuff could become a distraction. So I’m happy to get the recruiting process out of the way.”

Drake received the scholarship from Bama while attending its junior camp last month. He said he committed Monday night after talking things over with his father, William Drake. He first called assistant coach Kirby Smart, who gave him Nick Saban’s number. Then he let the head man know.

Both Georgia and Georgia Tech are likely feeling jilted. The Yellow Jackets, in particular, seemed well-positioned to win the recruiting battle.

Two of Drake’s best friends are brothers Synjyn Days and Jabari Hunt-Days, Hillgrove teammates who have already signed with The Institute. Synjyn is a freshman quarterback and Hunt-Days is four-star linebacker who inked with the Jackets on Feb. 2.

“I had to call [Tech assistant coach Brian] Bohannon to let him know,” Drake said. “I’ve developed a pretty close relationship with him over the last few months.”

The Bulldogs, who offered last November, identified Drake as one of their primary running back targets for 2012. He was the only back in the state they offered and one of only three overall. The others are Matt Jones of Seffner, Fla., (who may or may not have committed to Florida on Monday) and Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C.

But losing offensive line coach Stacy Searels to Texas hurt UGA with Drake.

“That was a factor,” Drake said. “After Coach Searels left had very little contact with Georgia. He was my regional recruiting coordinator. After he left there was like a void from Georgia.”

Drake said he may take a visit to Georgia Tech, “but just because I have a lot of friends there.” Otherwise, he plans to stick with his commitment.

“I stand by the word ‘commitment,’” Drake said. “I actually talked to Coach Saban about that tonight and he gave me the P’s and Q’s of the word commitment, especially this early. I totally understand where he was coming from. He talked about how some other schools might still recruit me. But once I commit somewhere I stand behind it. That’s just how I was raised and what I believe in. I feel like my commit is a solid one.”

It’s definitely an early one.

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog


288 comments Add your comment

Douglas

February 15th, 2011
12:44 am

Wow…what an idiot…he equates committment with Saban. Saban will dump him after one year if he doesn’t work out and offer his scholarship to someone else. As Mr. T would say: “Fool”.

bwell

February 15th, 2011
12:51 am

WHATEVER! By this time next year the kid will be saying I committed way to early and you know I just don’t know? Duh, please take this jerk off your board Chip.

Animal Control Officer

February 15th, 2011
1:15 am

woof woof woof

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SECWestWire, SECSportsWire, Lee Cain, DrizzyDrakeWhat, AL Crimson Tide and others. AL Crimson Tide said: Hillgrove RB Kenyan Drake chooses Bama over Tech, UGA – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) http://bit.ly/ek9Bo0 [...]

butch

February 15th, 2011
1:30 am

Crybaby dog fans!

aol.com

February 15th, 2011
1:42 am

I guess this kid don’t know about saban’s over signing plan to cut players from the team

dream teamp

February 15th, 2011
1:56 am

he didn’t want anything to do with GA’s roster–loaded at that position—Richt’s dream team will be dominating the SEC for years to come. Ga beats bama for the 2011 title–take it to the bank.

DAWGS

February 15th, 2011
1:57 am

Ha, Dawgs o-line cost them another loss! Dawgs better be glad they have an easy SEC schedule next year. Of course they will be a top 25 team because of the large fan base and story lines around Richt, but the Boise and Spurrier blowouts will hurt.

This just in… TECH RUNS THIS STATE. Don’t believe me, check it out

GTBob

February 15th, 2011
2:01 am

So he committed this early so that people would stop calling the house? Does he really think that will work?

DAWGS

February 15th, 2011
2:02 am

Dream teamp:” loaded at that position”… REALLY. Caleb king is your only back that has touched the ball. Ealey status is up in the air and there are serious rumors that Crowell isn’t able to make the grades for admission.

Lagdawg

February 15th, 2011
2:10 am

It’s pretty sad that a Ga. top recruit chose to leave the state. He fell for every lie that Saban had to offer and so did his father. I hope it works out for him. Now, with that said. It looks like UGA needs to get on the ball for the next recruiting class because they will need at least two RBs in the class and the two top ones on their board are gone. Jones had a lot of early interest in UGA and now they have let UF steal away very early. It’s great that these kids commit early, but do they really take the time to find out all about the other programs interested in them.

Lagdawg

February 15th, 2011
2:13 am

UGA might be in trouble if Crowell can’t qualify. If that’s the case, they did a very bad job of fully evaluating the talent last year by not bringing in more than one Rb. Hopefully this is not a bad sign but, I bet it is the start of worse things to come. Should have did a better job of upgrading the Offensive Coaches.

St.Petedawg

February 15th, 2011
2:32 am

Wow! How old are u calling this kid an idiot? SMH.

bama47

February 15th, 2011
2:43 am

Well bwell, you have a real short memory. Richt was the one that let the Dawgs current RB go after signing Crowell. Bam is not even in the top three od the SEC school that have players transferring or leaving football for medical reasons. We take care of our own. You trash your campu and simply cut them lose. RTR! You won’t make the SECCG.

samuell

February 15th, 2011
2:47 am

what is with uga fans hating on bama recruiting wise everyone recruits your state, when a team like uga starts sucking all your in state highschoolers start looking outside the state for teams to be a fan of. blame your coach for losing recruits b4 you blame ours for taking them. in less then 10 years kirby smart will be ugas coach and dabo swinney will be bamas by then you should have a better grip on your state unless auburn highers another 5-19 coach to win them a championship.

samuell

February 15th, 2011
2:48 am

Enter your comments here

01HAWK

February 15th, 2011
2:50 am

The Tide was not finished with the commitment of Kenyan Drake earlier Monday night.

Tyler Hayes, linebacker from Thomasville, Ala., joined as the eighth member in the class of 2012. The in-state three-sport athlete also has a scholarship offer from Auburn. Hayes escalated his stock tremendously when named the Class 4A MVP in the state championship game in 2010. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound athlete is recruited to play linebacker for the Tide. Hayes committed to coach Jeremy Pruitt and will make it official Tuesday after speaking with head coach Nick Saban.

And the RICH GET RICHER …………………………ROLL TIDE

01HAWK

February 15th, 2011
3:02 am

So much for that OVER SIGNING THEORY on SABAN:

Andy Staples of SI.com recently added up the numbers and found that over the past five years Alabama has signed an average of 26.6 players per class. Those with a higher average over the same time period were Troy (32.8), Ole Miss (29), Auburn (28.8), Mississippi State (27.6), Kansas State (27.4), Temple (27.2), Southern Miss (27), Arkansas (26.8) and Kentucky (26.8).

Bruce

February 15th, 2011
4:06 am

Bama Fan #2

February 15th, 2011
4:30 am

Just reading want the kid said made me stand up and said ROLL TIDE!!!
Chip sorry you had to stay up late and write the story but this is a good day even
after Clowney picked the war chickens over Bama!! RTR

UGA Haters!!

February 15th, 2011
5:54 am

Congrats Bama!

UGA Haters!!

February 15th, 2011
5:56 am

Now I know for a fact that Chip is a Bama Fan. Chip we are watching you! Better stay in line Hater!!!

RomeDawg

February 15th, 2011
6:08 am

Congratulations Mr. Drake! You are commitment #47. Just kidding, great choice and I am sure you will do well there. I hate UGA got left out with the coaching change. Our loss.

GwinnettDad

February 15th, 2011
6:19 am

Watched this kid play against Brookwood after Hillgrove beat Camden County, which nobody expected. And he was THAT good too. A very elegant runner, very hard to tackle, very smooth. I think of him more as a finesse runner rather than a pile driving fullback. Hillgrove scored a lot, and he was a big reason why.

Destin Dawg

February 15th, 2011
6:21 am

I just have ( had ) a feeling…. Crowell was over hyped.. #1.. Blah Blah Blah…. not really produced on the field and that he would have problems.. grades.. attitude.. injuries.. lack of determination… etc..

Destin Dawg

February 15th, 2011
6:23 am

I hope I’m wrong cause we don’t have any backups.. Ken Malcome will suprise this year.. I hope..Go Dawgs !!

C-Town

February 15th, 2011
6:24 am

Crowell has the grades to get into UGA this Fall 2011……Stop telling Lies Haters……….

south

February 15th, 2011
6:25 am

Let him go to Ala. and we’ll see him starring at North Alabama in a year or 2.

Recent reports have surfaced that the Alabama Crimson Tide football team will move one player closer to getting under the NCAA mandated scholarship limit.

Lineback Brandon Fanney, who started on last season’s 12-2 team and finished third on the team in tackles, will look to transfer to North Alabama, per TuscaloosaNews.com.

Fanney was reportedly not on good terms with head coach Nick Saban after a few spats during the spring. His transfer will help with Alabama’s scholarship crunch, which we reported on over a week ago. Yesterday, we also reported that Saban granted defensive back and wide receiver Chris Jackson permission to discuss a transfer with several schools.

According to our estimations, that puts Alabama at 70 scholarship players on the roster, assuming that both Fanney and Jackson transfer as expected.

Bubba

February 15th, 2011
6:29 am

Alabama depth chart at RB:
Trent Richardson
Eddie Lacy
Brent Calloway
Dee Hart
Whoever else they sign next year

Nick Saban

February 15th, 2011
6:35 am

“Top-tier academics”? Whaaaa? Must be a very big tier.

Paddy

February 15th, 2011
6:41 am

So, I keep hearing about Saban over-signing players at UA but nothing ever sticks. The players don’t seem to care. They keep signing over there. If he is breaking the rules or lying to players and ruining their college careers; why is the SEC and NCAA not creating monster headlines on this subject? Sounds like sour grapes even from this Dawg fan. I say tend to your own knitting.

Spike

February 15th, 2011
6:45 am

Oh well. Can’t get em all. We did get Crowell, beatches!!

Jacket Forever

February 15th, 2011
6:46 am

Alabama and education ? What a joke!!

The Green Bay "G" surrounded by black and red...

February 15th, 2011
6:52 am

…stands for Gimmick…as in “dream team”… and thankfully this young man is intelligent and mature enough not to fall for it

The Green Bay "G" surrounded by black and red...

February 15th, 2011
6:58 am

One recruiting battle you GA fans will wish ‘Bama had won is for Mr. Clowney. He’ll be spending a lot of time in the backfield with Murray and Crowell over the next three seasons.

Give Us A Break

February 15th, 2011
7:02 am

So what? These kids aren’t even in their senior years yet, for crying out loud! They could still change their minds and possibly even suffer career-ending injuries. Putting too much stock into VERBAL commitments this early is asinine! Let’s wait until were a little deeper into the 2011 season before getting uppity about these kids.

WnE

February 15th, 2011
7:02 am

Let’s see:

Kenyan drake had an OFFER from Teflon-CPJ & GT,

Kenyan Drake played in CPJ’s Triple-SLOPtion Offense in HS,

Kenyan Drake played his HS FB 35 mins from GT’s Campus,

Kenyan Drake chooses to play for ALABAMA in a PRO-STYLE Offense!

I guess the “theory” that CPJ’s Triple-SLOPtion Offense would be attractive to HS Recruits since they are familiar with from HS has been “shot to hell”.

The CPJ kool-aid drinkers said that his System would make Recruiting “easier” since so many HS recruits play in it in HS.

I guess Kenyan Drake is “exhibit A” that shows how crappy a Recruiter that CPJ is.

I’m also guessing that Kenyan Drake is a LOT SMARTER that the “Days Brothers” seeing as how he chose to NOT fall for CPJ’s crappy recruiting Spiel.

Still Wrecks.

Still NEffect.

Robert

February 15th, 2011
7:15 am

His definition of great academics is really off base. They conned him big time.

WnE

February 15th, 2011
7:24 am

re: Robert

Maybe CPJ needs to be a better con-man to compete at this level.

For a SA that is likely to major in Bus. Admin. just like GT offers, there probably isn’t that much of a difference in the RECRUIT’S mind.

Recruiting targets 17-19 ELITE ATHLETES, not middle-aged suburban guys that were band-geeks in HS.

Ramblin Man

February 15th, 2011
7:29 am

wrecks,
You are such an idiot it is one recruit who cares. The kid could change his mind, he could be a bust, he might get a career ending injury, oh and it’s a year away so go back to telling everyone how GT will suck this year and stop worrying about next years recruiting. Look at it this way it’s another person you will not have to stalk next year.

[...] By Chip Towers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Listening to Kenyan Drake explain his commitment to Alabama Monday night was like hearing a Crimson Tide coach offer a recruiting pitch. “In my eyes, you can’t get a better offer than Alabama,” said Drake, a 6-0, 188-pound running back from Hillgrove High in Powder Springs. “They offer you top-tier academics and top-tier athletics. It’s just, like, what else can you get from a college? I decided, why wait when I already have a great feeling about Alabama?” Drake projects as one of the top running back prospects — if not THE top running back — in the state of Georgia for the Class of 2012. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech are likely feeling jilted. The Yellow Jackets, in particular, seemed well-positioned to win the recruiting battle. “I stand by the word ‘commitment,’” Drake said. “I actually talked to Coach Saban about that tonight and he gave me the P’s and Q’s of the word commitment. But once I commit somewhere I stand behind it. That’s just how I was raised and what I believe in. I feel like my commit is a solid one.” [More] [...]

dirty727

February 15th, 2011
7:37 am

@ c town very well said

EDawg71

February 15th, 2011
7:39 am

Got to love the Drake….Hate the Drake.

Hal

February 15th, 2011
7:39 am

He forgot to mention Top – Tier oversigning. Hope he doesn’t blink or he’ll be gone.

RTR

February 15th, 2011
7:42 am

Welcome to a tradition of excellence that UGA fans will never know!! Roll Tide!!

Ramblin Man

February 15th, 2011
7:44 am

Edawg71, nice reference lol. Telling the age though.

EDawg71

February 15th, 2011
7:48 am

Ramblin Man, true…I’m old. I’m coming to terms with it.

fishtales

February 15th, 2011
7:50 am

The Southeastern Conference announced its 2010 Freshmen Academic Honor Roll today and the Crimson Tide football squad simply dominated. A full dozen of the Alabama players were honored for their first year academic achievements — no other school’s football team produced more than six.

In fact, the Alabama football team was first among all men’s sports from every school across the conference. The UA athletics department also points out that the team led the nation last year with 13 graduates on its roster, “a number that increased to 21 for the National Championship Game following December ceremonies.

WnE

February 15th, 2011
7:50 am

re:
Ramblin Man
February 15th, 2011
7:29 am
______________________
Keep on drinking the CPJ Kool-aid!

We keep losing ELITE Recruits that are ACADEMIC QUALIFIERS , yet putzes like you continue to blame Academics for CPJ’s crappy Recruiting.

C. Conley played WR in Paulding Co. not far from where Drake is from and he was another Academic Qualifier that CPJ couldn’t close the deal on.

We/GT would have the #2 Recruiting class in the ACC if CPJ could close on 60% of the Academic Qualifiers that Rejected CPJ, putzes like you would rather blame Academics for GT’s Recruting woes rather that the smug,smarmy HC that turns off too many recruits.

It is gonna Kenyan Drake-esque Recruits to win an ACC-Title & beat UGA.y, not the Zach Laskeys of the world.

Keep on believing that CPJ’s “special System” will make up for lack of Raw Talent.

It won’t!

Putzes like you should have learned that in 2010.

bruiser

February 15th, 2011
7:51 am

KENNO LOYAL IS WAY BETTER THAN DRAKE. HAS UGA EVEN OFFERED THIS KID.