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December 8, 2008

Season recap: Darin Drakeford

There weren't many restful moments on the football field this fall for Maryland linebacker commitment Darin Drakeford.

The 6-foot, 220-pounder did it all for Theodore Roosevelt (D.C.) this season, starting at linebacker, returning kicks and punts, and rotating between running back, wide receiver and tight end on offense.

“He was the consummate athlete,” Roosevelt head coach Daryl Tilghman said. “He’s very coachable. You didn’t have to tell him more than once how to do things. He was quick to understand what we were trying to do. He understood our concepts offensively and defensively very well. Maryland will have a good time working with him.”

A year after setting a new school record with 22 sacks at defensive end, Drakeford moved to linebacker and led the Rough Riders (5-6) with 91 solo tackles, 33 assists and 14 sacks. On offense, Drakeford rushed for 768 yards and 10 touchdowns on 37 carries. He also caught 22 passes for 422 yards and four touchdowns.

For his efforts, Drakeford last week was named Washington D.C.’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Tilghman was most impressed by Drakeford’s speed and explosion this season.

“He was probably one of the fastest guys in the conference,” Tilghman said. “You very rarely saw him get caught from behind, and if he did [get caught] ... nine out of 10 times it was due to fatigue from playing all the different positions.”

Drakeford was ranked as a two-star prospect by before the season. Tilghman believes there’s an explanation for the low rating.

“I think they didn’t have any video of him,” Tilghman said. “We sent them some [recently], so I guess that’ll probably push him up [in the rankings]. We went to a couple of camps, but didn’t go to enough of them. ... I think he played exceptionally well [this season]. He had a lot of postseason accolades.”

Tilghman said Drakeford hopes to add at least 10 pounds to his 220-pound frame before moving on to College Park. If that happens, Tilghman thinks there’s a possibility Drakeford could see the field as a true freshman.

“I think he’ll bring a little electricity to the Maryland football program,” Tilghman said. “He’s a playmaker a lot of schools would love to have. He’s a kid that, once you tell him ‘you’re on your own and you need to carry yourself in this manner,’ he’s someone you won’t have to think or worry about twice. ... He’s a kid everybody would love to have.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:34 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps



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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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