Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alabama stud running back Kenyan Drake dishes about Nick Saban

By: @LivingCrimson

Tom Hauck/ESPNHSThe Atlanta-Journal Constitution is at it again. Alabama pulled another top player out of Georgia and the Atlanta paper doesn’t like it. In a Q&A session with the AJC Super 11 running back, Michael Carvell uses leading questions in an attempt to create controversy.

However, the Alabama signee turns the tables and gives positive reviews about Alabama recruiting, then blames turmoil at Georgia for his going out of state. To spare everyone a frustrating click, here are highlights from the article.

  • Even though Drake was a lifelong Georgia fan, UGA was not an option for him because of the program’s instability.

“With everything going [on] at Georgia and all the speculation about Coach Richt, and then realizing the stability at Alabama — it wasn’t a hard decision, at that point.”

  • Nick Saban visited his school, which really impressed Drake. Even more importantly, Alabama was the only school to make a home visit.

“Coach Saban … really wanted to come over and talk football, and explain his expectations both on and off the field. It wasn’t like any big family gathering but more like a business meeting.”

  • Drake really enjoys being around Kirby Smart.

“[He] is the funniest coach I’ve ever been around. He’s real laid back and down to Earth. You can talk to him about anything, whether it be school, football, or your girlfriend. He will have a conversation with you because he’s that cool and that’s type of person.”

  • When questioned about which school’s coach is the “nicest,” of course it wasn’t Saban. Drake goes on to clarify that Saban is more businesslike than buddy-buddy.

“Well, I wouldn’t say not the nicest, but I would have to say Coach Saban. But I’m not saying he was not the nicest. He’s really straight forward. You know what I mean? I’m not saying he’s mean but I’m not saying he’s ‘buddy buddy’ with you either. He’s very businesslike. … And he gives it to you like this, and if it’s not like this, then there’s no other way.”

“At first, he can be intimidating because of the things you read or hear about him. And with his personality, he’s very straight forward. He tells you like it is. But once you get to really know him, it’s different. The chance I got to spend with Coach Saban and his wife during my visit … we got to joke around and have a couple of laughs. You know, people that aren’t really that close to him, or haven’t been in those type of situations, they wouldn’t really understand because they see him as being straight forward. Once you get to see the man, the husband Coach Saban is and the father Coach Saban is, you really get to see what type of person he is.”

  • What do you think it will be like to play for a guy that many consider to be college football’s best coach?

“It’s like you really don’t want to disappoint him. You see how hard he works and how prepared he is, day in and day out, to be the best at what he’s doing. He’s a very good role model. Once you see everything he’s accomplished and trying to accomplish, it’s almost like all that success is going to rub off on you. Because Coach Saban is your coach, you’re definitely going to strive to be the best you can be, regardless.”

Chalk up another good get for Coach Saban and the Alabama recruiting staff. In his senior season, Drake rushed for 1,610 yards on 173 carries and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. He was also effective in the receiving game — hauling in 24 passes for 315 yards and five touchdowns — and special teams where he returned 10 kickoffs for 355 yards and two touchdowns. A grand total of 2,280 total yards and 25 touchdowns, which earned him the 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Georgia. Hillgrove High School won a regional title and finished 10-0 in the regular season for the first time.

Kenyan Drake will arrive on the Alabama campus on May 27th, after his high school graduation. It will be interesting to see the 6-1 204 pound Drake compete for playing time against 6-2 210 pound T.J. Yeldon in Fall camp.

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