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Saturday, January 26, 2013
Watch List LB Drake in recovery mode

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Michigan state championship football game was bittersweet for Watch List outside linebacker Deon Drake Jr. (Detroit/Cass Tech).

His team rolled to its second consecutive state title, but the Michigan State commit left the game with a partial tear in his right ACL. The injury required reconstructive surgery, which Drake went through on Monday. And less than a week out from the surgery, Drake is looking upward and onward.

“I just want to come back harder,” Drake said. “I’m almost taking it like a New Year’s resolution. I’m changing my habits. It’ll be a whole new me.”

The healing process is expected to last six to eight months, though Drake will meet with his doctor on Feb. 1 to see how successful the surgery was and to gain a better estimate as to when he’ll be able to run, jump and sprint.

Even though he’s not able to work out with the team during this offseason, he said he’ll still show up to every practice and session, providing the veteran leadership that was imperative to the team’s last two state titles.

And for inspiration, Drake has looked to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who returned for the 2012 season after tearing both his MCL and ACL during the 2011 season.

“I’m trying to have my outcome like Adrian’s,” Drake said. “I’m going to come harder. I’m going to be more physical, be faster and stronger.”

And now, with that attitude and a lot of rehab ahead of him, it’s time to focus on state title No. 3.