Hillgrove's Drake Named Player of Year
The Alabama-bound running back now is a finalist for Gatorade's national award, honoring athletic and academic excellence and character.
Drake, who has committed to play football for Alabama next year, is the first Hillgrove player to win the Gatorade award and now becomes a finalist for National Football Player of the Year, to be announced this month.
He is the third consecutive senior from Cobb County to win the state Gatorade award in football and is set to follow them into the Southeastern Conference. Kell running back/safety Brian Randolph, now at Tennessee, won last year, and Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason, now at Georgia, was the 2009 winner.
Drake told the Marietta Daily Journal he is humbled to be mentioned with Randolph and Mason and hopes Walton running back Tyren Jones makes it four in a row for Cobb County next year. Jones, a junior, leads the Raiders in the state AAAAA semifinals against Lassiter tonight.
The Gatorade award recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement, and high character on and off the field, according to the announcement.
On the field, Drake ran for 1,610 yards and 18 touchdowns on 173 carries in leading Hillgrove to an undefeated regular season and the Region 4-AAAAA title. The Hawks lost in the second round of the AAAAA playoffs to West Forsyth.
He also caught 24 passes for 315 yards and five touchdowns and ran back 10 kickoffs for 355 yards and two more touchdowns.
His 25 touchdowns as a senior followed a 20-touchdown season as a junior, Gatorade said.
In the classroom, the company said, Drake has a 3.23 weighted grade-point average.
He also volunteers as a youth baseball and football instructor.
“Drake is a great young man with tremendous work ethic and drive,” Shane Queen, the head coach of 4-AAAAA rival North Cobb, said in the Gatorade press release. “He is one of the best players that I have coached against in 18 years. … If there is a better young man, player or role model, I would love to see him.”