July 3, 2020

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Diamond In The Rough: Vincent Drake Jr.

Vincent Drake Jr is a 6’1 205 pound outside line-backer out of Belle Chasse High School. Drake towers over the offensive line with a presence. With his 285 pound bench and 425 pound squat, his frame and build as a result is punishing for any skill player that crosses his path. With his 4.66 speed and lightning fast reflexes, Drake is able to diagnose plays quickly and swiftly; tackling the ball carrier resulting in countless tackles for loss. This past season Drake racked up (15) tackles for loss (63 tackles total) in his junior debut. Drake’s combination of speed and strength off the edge makes him an absolute nightmare for anyone in the offensive backfield. Not only can Drake take it upon himself to disrupt the backfield shedding tacklers with ease, Drake can also hold offensive lineman in place, opening opportunities for his teammates around him to make a play. Drake reached out to LGF and I was honored to oblige and speak to him about his personal and football past. 

Tell me a little bit about how you entered into the game of football? – I started playing pee wee football at about 6 years old. My dad always said that I was very active around the house so he put me into football at a young age. I also have a lot of cousins and other family members that are into football as well so it just kind’ve runs in the family.

What position did you start out playing once you entered middle school?- In park ball I played quarterback and my dad always told me to play running back because of my speed. I personally wanted to play defense because I really like to hit and enjoy contact. So heading into middle school I played defensive end, corner and linebacker. I was all over the field.

How did you progress through high school position wise?- In highschool I started out playing slot catching balls. Then eventually I moved to my OLB and SS spot just trying to perfect my craft. 

So you mentioned your dad a couple of times. How influential has your father been in your development as a football player? – Extremely influential. He never forced me to play but everytime I made a commitment he made me stick to it and gave me the mental tools I needed to succeed. In pee wee football he was our coach for the first couple of years. He would buy jerseys and would bring snacks and all that good stuff. His positive influence really made me fall in love with the game at around 8 years old. 

As an outside linebacker and strong safety you’ve got quite the instincts and ball skills. Which position would you say you are most efficient at and what attributes do you have that are unique to you? – I feel I’m efficient at both positions equally. At linebacker I have a quick reaction time and desire to fill gaps and attack the ball. At strong safety I have a great vertical. I have played basketball all my life along with football so I can get up. Sometimes if I’m guarding a faster receiver I’ll give him a little cushion, wait for him to make his move and try my best to get up top and snag the interception. 

How are you adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic and still practicing/perfecting your craft? – Fortunately my dad was able to install a gym in my house beginning of highschool my freshman year. So still with the coronavirus looming, I workout everyday. There is also a park down the street from me with a sand lot and a levee that I just go over to and run at.

What does your training regiment look like in your at home gym? – Well my dad and I usually work out a lot especially when he comes from work. We like to switch out our workouts so it varies. Mondays we always get legs and arms in. 

If you could describe yourself in ten words or less to an NFL scout or GM what would you say to them? – Determined. Passionate. Will outwork anyone around me. Driven. Coachable. Desire to play.

Within your team and out of the 6 seniors you have on right now, how have you adjusted and settled into your leadership role within the team? – I feel like since freshman year people have always looked up to me. I’ve always felt I’ve exuded leadership qualities since I’ve entered into Belle Chasse. Football is a competition, so I always try to outwork the other guy. I lead by example through my work ethic. 

Can you give me an example during a practice or game where you had to lead by example? – It’s honestly an everyday thing for me. Everyday we practice I’m always the first one in the locker room and the first one in the weight room. Last year during a game, (before this game I had sat out a couple of games) it was an early and hot game. We came out into the huddle and I told everybody we need to come out aggressive. I came out first play and made an explosive tackle for a 3-4 yard loss against a highly ranked running back. After that play that running back had to sit out for a quarter and it really hyped up the team and helped build momentum for us. I just try my best to lead by example whenever I can. 

Speaking of momentum, what was the most momentous moment for you in your football career? – Coming into my junior year I just made a mental switch. I looked in the mirror and I told myself that I have to go all out and give it my all every day. You may think you are giving it your all but you can always give more. Even when you are at your worst you can always pick yourself back up and give your best performance the next day.

Coming into this year what are yalls realistic goals for this year and how do you plan on addressing them as a leader on the team? – I plan on helping our team just finish. Last year we came out in the second round of the playoffs and played Breaux Bridge but ended up losing. We played a strong first round game and won by 35 but I feel as if we didn’t finish our second game. We had our chances but didn’t capitalize. Since that gme I’ve been on the guys in the locker room and during practices to finish finish finish. If we can do that, I feel we can make it to the championship game. 

If there was one thing you could tell yourself before you entered the realm of football what would it be? – Follow your heart. Don’t let anyone deter you from the goals you set out to achieve. Go all out, finish the play, be you, and don’t give up. 

Was there someone in your life who detered you from being your best on the field ? –  It’s funny you ask because in park ball, I would play with my friend BaJah Jackson. We would always be on opposite teams. So everytime we got on the field it just felt like me and him. We were close friends but it was always a competition. He was the faster guy. Compact like Darren Sproles. I was stronger and more of a workhorse like Derrick Henry; pounding the ball every chance I got. I would always compare myself to him and it would discourage me at times. It wasn’t until I got into middle school that I realized everyone is different. Everyone has their own set of attributes exclusive to them. Once you hone in on those set attributes, then and only then will you come into form. I realized not all coaches want the same thing. Some coaches may want a smaller speedy running back. Others want a work horse. I just have to stay true to myself and good things will come as a result. 

What are your goals moving into college academically? – I’ve always wanted to be a physical therapist. Being a physical therapist you are there for the patient throughout the whole healing process. I enjoy the interpersonal aspect of connecting and helping a patient through their injury. Going into high school I also took medical classes and I seemed to be really good with understanding muscle groups and the intricacies between them.

Is there anyone in your family that has been influential in that decision? – My mother is an administrator at a healthcare facility. My dad is an eye specialist. So it kind’ve just runs in the family. 

What is your favorite aspect of football? – There are two parts. Anticipation of the game is the first. Going to practice building camaraderie with your teammates. The other part is game day. I love the fans screaming and getting that first big hit. That’s a big reason why I love playing defense.