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Kenyan Drake—Return to the Field

Alabama’s running back Kenyan Drake is ready to hit the field again. The rising senior was poised for a huge season in 2014, until a gruesome leg injury against Mississippi ended his junior campaign. Drake spent the remainder of the season in rehab, but has told numerous reporters that he will be back in Tuscaloosa next season.

Drake appeared in five games for Alabama in 2014. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin featured him as a running back and a flex receiver. Drake accounted for 122 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries, yet his top-end speed served him better as a receiver. He caught five passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

A matchup against Florida presented Drake with his finest moment. He scored Alabama’s first touchdown of the game, an 87-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Blake Sims. Drake ended the contest with 102 total yards and a touchdown.

He wants to improve upon his statistics from 2013. Drake totaled 694 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games as a sophomore. He led all backs in yards per carry average (7.5). His hands were exceptional, grabbing 12 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Drake showed signs of greatness as a freshman in 2012. He appeared in 12 games as Alabama’s third back in its rotation. Drake recorded 281 yards and five touchdowns on 42 carries.

The cast has been removed from his leg, and with spring practice approaching, Drake looks to battle Derrick Henry for the starting position. His versatility makes him a hot commodity, but how many carries will Drake collect in 2015? Answers to this question may vary, as Alabama continues to recruit high profiled running backs. Drake could transition to a permanent receiver, in hopes to prevent another injury, but he wants a shot in the backfield.

Drake, a former four-star prospect, has been a stud since entering Alabama from Powder Springs, Ga. He registered 1,925 total yards (1,610 rushing, 315 receiving) and 25 touchdowns (18 rushing, 5 receiving, and 2 special teams) at Hillgrove High School in 2011.

Drake’s collected 1,087 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons at Alabama. He’s averaged at least five yards per carry in his tenure. Drake’s been a member of two Southeastern Conference Championships (2012, 2014) and a national title in 2012. A hit against Ole Miss knocked him out, but Alabama fans are ready for the return of No.17 in crimson and white in 2015.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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