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Alabama in the Pros

Former Tide RB Kenyan Drake aims for consistency in year two at Miami

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Adam Gase and the Miami Dolphins have just one goal in mind for second-year running back Kenyan Drake next season: Be more reliable on offense.

His rookie year was filled with good moments – including two rushing touchdowns and a 96-yard kick return for a score, but there were also situations where the former Alabama standout and Georgia native tried to do too much. According to a report from Chris Perkins of the Orlando Sentinel, the Dolphins are looking to Drake to be the backup behind its starter, Jay Ajayi.

Ajayi, who battled through character issues at Boise State University and injuries as a rookie in 2015, turned in his first NFL Pro Bowl campaign last season with 1,272 rushing yards and eight scores on 260 carries.

Behind him, Miami notched a playoff berth for the first time since 2008.

From his time at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Ga., to his four-year tenure at Alabama, Drake has always felt the need to make a huge play. Whether it was making defenders miss on special teams or eluding guys in the run game, he based his success on being able to create something out of nothing. Coach Gase loves his playmaking style at Miami just like Nick Saban enjoyed in Tuscaloosa; however, both coaches would prefer him to just be smart about it.

“He does so many good things,” Gase said via the Orlando Sentinel. “But he always does one thing, whether on or off the field, that’ll test me every once in a while. I kind of like it.”

Sometimes, Drake’s will to score gets in the way of him simply making the proper read of either picking up a first down or grinding out a tough two to three yards to help the situation. The good thing about the 23-year-old is he knows what he needs to work on and is putting in the effort.

“Let’s say I do something that wasn’t on script or something that wasn’t planned,” Drake said per the Sentinel. “It works sometimes, like the Buffalo game, but sometimes it doesn’t work.”

“So sometimes I just have to kind of put my head down and get those two or three yards when it’s not there. That can be frustrating, because also I want to make a big play every time I touch the ball. So it’s just understanding my role in the grand scheme of things and kind of let those big plays come when they come and not force them.”

Crimson Tide fans know all too well of Drake’s capabilities.

Kenyan Drake 2016 Gucci Mane|"Both"|Ultimate rookie highlights 2015-16(HD)

Keep in mind, this is the same guy who took a 95-yard kickoff for a critical touchdown against Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship off the 2015 season, lifting Alabama to a 45-40 win.

As he continues to grow in South Beach, Dolphin fans will grow to love Drake.

Stephen M. Smith is a managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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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