December 18, 2011

Drake excited about new addition

The University of Alabama's 2012 recruiting class made a significant move when it added five-star running back T.J. Yeldon on Sunday. Yeldon, who was committed to rival Auburn, switched his pledge to the Crimson Tide.

The in-state running back is a welcome addition for the other players in the class, but nobody may have been happier than Kenyan Drake, even though he and Yeldon play the same position.

"I was ecstatic because you can't have too many great players on your team, especially with him playing the same position that I'm playing," Drake said. "We can both learn from each other and get a feel for each other's game. It's a great opportunity to play with top competition."

Rumors swirled Sunday about Drake being unhappy with the new addition and could be looking to go elsewhere where he may have a better chance to play, but the Georgia native put those rumors to rest.

"It's never about that," Drake said. "He's my teammate, and you definitely need more than one back in the system to make anything work. Like I said, the more the merrier.

"I came to Alabama to do my part. The only thing that's going to affect me is my own work. Nobody else is going to affect how I play. I'm going to go in there and take care of my business, do what I'm supposed to do, and nobody else should influence what I do."

Drake, who won Georgia's Gatorade Player of the Year, is actually looking forward to taking the field with a player as talented as Yeldon and thinks the Daphne star will only make him better once the two get to Alabama.

"With the bill of being a five-star running back, you have certain expectations, and with those expectations, I'm looking forward to getting an opportunity to play with somebody who is very capable of being one of the best running backs in the country," Drake said. "When I get on the field with him, I look for him to elevate my game."

With Drake and Yeldon, the UA coaching staff has assembled one of the top running back tandems in the country for 2012. Both players are ranked in the Rivals250, and the two combined to rush for more than 3,800 yards and 48 touchdowns this year.

The Crimson Tide still has a few spots left to fill in this class, and Drake said he believes it has the chance to become one of the most talented classes Alabama has seen in a long time.

"I feel like it's one of the best classes in the country in the past several years that Alabama has recruited," Drake said. "It's even in competition with the great class that they had last year, and that class was extremely high-profile with the people they had, but I think this class definitely rivals that class."

Drake will play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl on Dec. 29 while Yeldon plans to participate in the Under Armour All-Amercan Game the following week.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at [email protected]

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