Kenyan Drake: Seniors Became Leaders That Alabama Lacked Previous Years

This past college football season, Alabama won its fourth title in seven years, beating Clemson 45-40 in the national championship.

Kenyan Drake may have had the play of the game.

After Clemson pulled within 31-27 on a field goal with less than eight minutes remaining, Drake returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to give the Tide a 38-27 cushion.

Ball game.

“It’s really like a dream come true,” Drake said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “My freshman year, we won it, and as a young player, you get in there and you feel like you can kind of win it every year when you get a taste of it your first year. The next couple years, we had a couple times we were close, but we kind of didn’t really quite finish the job like we should have.”

Alabama started 11-0 in 2013 but lost its final two games to Auburn and Oklahoma. In 2014, a one-loss Tide team made the inaugural College Football Playoff but lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.

After winning three national titles in four years, Alabama suddenly endured a two-year drought. Then 2015 happened.

The Tide lost at home to Ole Miss, 43-37, in September but won their final 12 games of the season, beating Georgia, LSU, Florida, Michigan State and Clemson, among others, in the process.

“The senior class this past year, we all came together on the leadership council and we wanted to really emulate the championship legacy that the seniors left on us when we were freshmen,” Drake said. “We wanted to go out and really make sure that the freshmen and the sophomores and underclassmen understood that it’s up to them to continue the legacy when we leave. The leadership group this year, we really stepped up and allowed ourselves to really be the leaders that kind of lacked the last couple years. It all speaks for itself at the end of the year when we were champions.”

Drake, a a versatile NFL prospect, enjoyed playing for Nick Saban – even if it wasn’t always pleasant.

“He was definitely always hard on every single person,” Drake said. “I think that’s what makes him a great coach because he dished it out evenly. It’s not going to be hard on one person and not as hard on anybody else. Anybody can catch the wrath from Saban. He’s very genuine in his honesty and that really makes a player better. The truth may hurt, but at the same time, it can only make you better. The proof is in the pudding with his ability to lead teams to championships.”

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