Kenyan Drake returns to spotlight, says touchdown was a ‘relief’
Kenyan Drake will be the first Alabama player fans see at Saturday afternoon’s game against Middle Tennessee State. Sort of.
“I saw I was on the ticket!” he told the media on Wednesday evening, via a Rivals.com video. “So that was actually really exciting, too. My parents get to keep it as a keepsake.”
Fans will likely be much more excited to see Drake on the field than on their game tickets; this will be the running back’s first game in Tuscaloosa since breaking his left leg against Ole Miss last October.
He kicked off his senior season with 125 total yards and a touchdown on 12 touches against Wisconsin last Saturday, but he admittedly lacked patience, and his performance was overshadowed by teammate, and Heisman Trophy candidate, Derrick Henry.
“I was pressing a little bit,” Drake said. “Trying to make a big play when I didn’t have to … The touchdown was definitely a relief.”
Henry and Drake are a classic thunder-and-lightning combination. Henry is a traditional running back, while Drake is constantly in motion before the snap, creating problems for flustered defenses.
“Kenyan Drake is very valuable to our team because of what he can do,” coach Nick Saban said after practice on Wednesday evening. “When you play against guys like that, it’s always a problem. Because they’re a little bit of a mismatch guy for guys that have to cover them.”
Like several other ‘Bama standouts, Drake was a four-star prospect out of Hillgrove High School in 2012. The speedster has 21 touchdowns in his Tide career.
“We’re certainly happy to have him back,” Saban said. “I think what we’re trying to get him to do is just focus on… don’t try to make plays. Just take what they give you and make the most of it. When he does that, he’s extremely effective.”
Drake said he and Henry are constantly in “competition,” but also provide each other with feedback after plays.
“We’re pretty close in age, so we’ve always been pretty cool,” Drake said. “It doesn’t change. On and off the field, you know, we’re always going to be real close.”
So far, so good. The pair have already accounted for 284 yards and four touchdowns this year.